After opening the season with four consecutive wins, Kent State dropped its second in a row Saturday at the MAC Center in Kent, Ohio.
Loyola (Illinois) led by as many as 20 points in the first half and withstood a second-half rally for a 69-61 victory.
Senior forward Christian Thomas led Loyola (4-1) with 16 points, junior guard Devon Turk added 15, junior guard Jeff White 13 and junior forward Montel James 11.
The Ramblers used a 10-point run over a five-minute period early in the first half to grab their first double-digit lead, 15-5.
When James nailed back-to-back baskets at the 2:08 mark, Loyola’s lead increased to 38-18.
The Golden Flashes (4-2) shot just 26 percent in the opening half, while the Ramblers connected on 57 percent.
The Flashes came out on fire after the break, cutting an 18-point halftime deficit down to just seven in the first five minutes.
Senior guard Derek Jackson’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 42-35 at the 15:25 mark. Jackson led Kent with 12 points.
The Ramblers withstood the rush, though, and brought the lead back to double digits on back-to-back 3-pointers from Thomas and Turk.
The Flashes, though, had one more run left to get within striking distance.
Junior guard Kellon Thomas scored five points in 17 seconds to cut Loyola’s lead to 53-50 at the 7:12 mark.
Kent State never got closer than that the rest of the game, however.
White’s 3-pointer with 50 seconds to play increased the Ramblers’ lead to nine points, sealing their fourth victory in the young season.
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