Blake Simmons scored 13 points and Eqidijus Mockevicius added 12 points with 13 rebounds as visiting Evansville held off Loyola 65-56 on Wednesday night.
The Purple Aces (15-4, 4-3 Missouri Valley Conference) used a pair of runs late in the game — 11-1 and 8-0 — to stake a 10-point lead with just over four minutes to play. That’s when the Ramblers (13-6, 3-4) turned up the pressure and closed to 59-56 when Jeff White hit a pair of free throws with just under a minute to go.
But Mockevicius, D.J. Balentine and Adam Wing each hit two foul shots as Evansville put the game away with six unanswered points at the line.
The Purple Aces owned a 38-23 advantage on the boards, including 28 off the defensive glass. Mockevicius also had five of Evansville’s six blocked shots.
Devon Turk scored 14 for the Ramblers, Montel James 11.
N. Illinois 64, Akron 61
DEKALB— Travon Baker, playing in his 78th consecutive start, scored 21 points, including a pair of free throws with four seconds left to play, as Northern Illinois held off Akron for a Mid-American Conference victory.
The Huskies (8-8, 2-3 MAC) were home after playing 3 of their first four conference games on the road and built a seven-point lead in the first half. But Akron came back to take a brief lead, 39-37 with 14:11 left to play.
Akron cut the lead to three points, 59-56, on Aaron Jackson’s 3-pointer with 2:51 left. Baker converted 3 of 4 from the free-throw line in the final 21 seconds to put the game away.
Kwan Cheatham Jr. finished with 13 points to lead Akron (12-6, 3-2), with Deji Ibitayo adding another 10.
The victory was Northern Illinois’ 10th in 22 games all-time against Akron.
Southern Illinois 70, Bradley 59
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Anthony Beane finished with 16 points and Southern Illinois pushed past Bradley for a 70-59 victory.
Tyler Smithpeters chipped in 12 points, Jordan Caroline added nine and Sean O’Brien had six with five steals and four assists for the Salukis (9-11, 2-5 Missouri Valley). Southern Illinois shot 46.3 percent from the field, forced 14 turnovers and had a 34-29 edge in rebounding.
The Salukis were trailing by four when Beane hit a pair of 3-pointers along with a jumper to spark a 26-6 surge, pushing their lead to 65-49 with 3:44 remaining.
Bradley (6-14, 1-6) went just 9 of 25 from the floor in the second half, leading to 41.7 percent overall in dropping their fifth straight. Tramique Sutherland had 13 points, Josh Cunningham added 10 with nine rebounds and Ka’Darryl Bell contributed 10 points with five assists.
St. John’s 60, Marquette 57
NEW YORK — Sir’Dominic Pointer scored a pair of consecutive baskets to spark a final rally and D’Angelo Harrison sank a pair of key free throws as St. John’s battled past Marquette 60-57 in the final minutes of a Big East contest at Madison Square Garden.
Pointer also had 11 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Red Storm (13-5, 2-4 Big East). Harris and Phil Greene IV each scored 11.
After Harris sank his foul shots, Marquette closed to 58-57 on a pair of free throws from Matt Carlino with 11 seconds left. But Greene dunked after the inbound and Carlino missed a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining.
With Marquette (10-8, 2-4) trailing 26-24 at halftime, Carlino drained four 3s and fed Steve Taylor Jr. for a dunk as part of a 16-6 run. Carlino finished with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Taylor added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Michigan State 66, Penn State 60
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Branden Dawson had 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots to help Michigan State outlast Penn State 66-60.
Gavin Schilling added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Spartans (13-6, 4-2 Big Ten). Denzel Valentine scored 11 points and Travis Trice and Matt Costello 10 each.
D.J. Newbill, the nation’s No. 4 scorer, had 18 of his 27 points in the second half and nearly gave the Nittany Lions (12-7, 0-6) their first win since Dec. 22.
But a technical foul on frustrated Penn State coach Patrick Chambers helped Michigan State pull away when the game was tied for the final time at 51.