SAVANNAH, GA (WECT) - Loyola Chicago's Aundre Jackson and Marques Townes combined for 48 points and the unbeaten Ramblers shot a sizzling 60 percent from the field to down UNCW, 102-78, in the Savannah Invitational on Friday at the Savannah Civic Center.
The Seahawks, who defeated N.C. Wesleyan at home back on Nov. 11 in the first game of the event, had their record evened at 2-2 with the loss and face another Missouri Valley Conference opponent, Valparaiso, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the tournament finale.
Loyola Chicago pushed its record to 6-0 after placing four men in double figures and canning 10-of-18 from long distance. The Ramblers take on Kent State at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
"It's a work in progress," said C.B. McGrath, UNCW's first-year head coach. "We have to work on some things in practice and have them translate into the games. We did a nice job of coming back and cutting it to single digits going into halftime. I felt good. The first two minutes of the second half were really important. The first two minutes was not what we wanted."
Jackson, a senior forward from Kennedale, Texas, led all scorers with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting for Loyola Chicago, including 18 points in the first half as the Ramblers built a comfortable margin. Townes had 23 points – 16 in the second period – and Donte Ingram and Clayton Custer chipped in 14 and 13 points.
Senior point guard Jordon Talley paced three Seahawks in double figures with 20 points. Redshirt sophomore guard Ty Taylor collected 14 points and junior forward Devontae Cacok finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
In its first career meeting with the Ramblers, UNCW fell behind early and played catch-up most of the contest. With Jackson providing the spark in the first half and Townes taking over after intermission, Loyola led by as many as 34 points en route to the convincing win.
After Talley's half court heave at the buzzer pulled the Seahawks within 53-44 at halftime, the Ramblers reeled off the first 17 points of the second period to extend the lead to 70-44 with just over 16 minutes left to play.
UNCW, which shot 42.0 percent on the day, could get no closer than 24 points the rest of the way as Townes converted 6-of-9 field goals in the last 20 minutes for Porter Moser's club.
UNCW jumped out to an early advantage before Loyola went on a 12-2 spurt for a 14-6 lead on a conventional three-pointer by Jackson.
But the Seahawks responded behind Talley, who keyed an 8-0 spurt. A steal and layup by JaQuel Richmond with just under 14 minutes left knotted the score at 14-all.
Jackson stayed hot, however, connecting on 10 of his first 13 field goal attempts, and the Ramblers pushed their margin to as many as 18 points before the Seahawks stormed back in the final minutes of the half. Ingram converted both ends of a one-and-one with 7:42 on the clock and the lead ballooned to 39-21.
Cacok, playing with two personals, got the Seahawks within striking distance with inspired play late in the first half. The Riverdale, Ga., product knocked down three consecutive baskets and pulled UNCW within, 45-37 with five minutes remaining in the opening period.
Loyola hiked the lead back to 53-41 before Talley's 45-footer narrowed the deficit to 53-44 as time expired in the half.
GAME NOTES: The tournament is being staged by the Savannah Sports Council…UNCW has 18 assists on 29 baskets…Loyola Chicago scored 42 points in the paint…The Seahawks had 16 second chance points…UNCW led for 17 seconds in the contest…Jordon Talley and Jaylen Fornes led the Seahawks with four assists apiece…Devontae Cacok and Trey Kalina each had dunks in the game…The Seahawks went 12-of-20 at the free throw line…UNCW had 14 offensive rebounds to just five for Loyola…Senior forward Marcus Bryan led the Seahawks with nine rebounds…UNCW wound up 8-of-26 from three-point range.