Loyola peels away from Valparaiso for 70-54 win

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Loyola guard Clayton Custer is going to cry if the Ramblers make it to the NCAA Tournament — and maybe if they don’t. | Ron Irby/AP

VALPARAISO, Ind. — Clayton Custer scored 18 points with five assists and four steals and Loyola pulled away from Valparaiso in the second half for a 70-54 win on Sunday.

Aundre Jackson added 12 points, Donte Ingram 11 and Cameron Krutwig 10. Ingram and Krutwig each had seven rebounds. Loyola (16-4, 6-2 Missouri Valley) protected the ball with 16 assists on 27 made shots and committed just eight turnovers.

Valpo took the lead 32-31 with a 9-4 run after being down four at halftime, but Marques Townes had a jumper, Custer followed with a 3-pointer, and Jackson made a jumper and a 3 and the Ramblers were on their way. Custer buried back-to-back 3s and added a layup and the lead was 49-36.

Bakari Evelyn made a layup and a pair of free throws to reduce the deficit to 52-45 but the Crusaders couldn’t get closer. Evelyn scored 19 points and Derrik Smits and Tevonn Walker each scored 14 to lead the Crusaders (11-10, 2-6), which made just 3 of 14 from 3-point range.

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