After a slow start, Loyola-Chicago jumped out to a 13-point halftime lead and rode that cushion to a 69-60 victory over host Illinois-Chicago Saturday.
Sophomore Christian Thomas scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season as the Ramblers (14-12, 4-9 Horizon League) snapped a four-game losing streak despite playing without leading scorer Ben Averkamp and starting guard Cully Payne.
Averkamp missed a third straight game because of a concussion. Payne, who has a broken bone in his finger, missed his first outing.
The Flames (15-11, 6-7) trailed by as many as 16 points early in the second half but were within four points, 56-52, with under 7 minutes left. But that was a close as they could come.
The Ramblers had an eight-point advantage entering the game's final minute and hit five free throws down the stretch.
In addition to Thomas' effort, Jordan Hicks scored 18 for the Ramblers and freshman Devon Turk scored 10 in his first collegiate start. Joe Crisman, a starter who had missed the last five games with a broken finger, returned but scored only two points as the Ramblers gained a split of the season series.
Marc Brown came off the bench to led the Flames in scoring with 13 points.