Valparaiso withstood a second-half surge from Loyola (Chicago) and maintained sole possession of first place in the Horizon League with an 85-76 victory Tuesday at the Joseph J. Gentile Center in Chicago.
Senior guard Will Bogan scored 16 points to lead Valparaiso (21-7, 11-3 Horizon), which bounced back from Saturday's loss to Detroit.
Sophomore swingman Christian Thomas had 15 points and eight rebounds for Loyola (14-13, 4-10), which has lost five of six.
Valparaiso led 42-27 at the break after shooting 62.1 percent from the field and making five of nine from 3-point range. The Crusaders used a 14-3 run to go up 18-7 midway through the half and extended the lead with a 9-0 run later in the period.
The Ramblers opened the second half with a flourish, scoring the first eight points to cut Valparaiso's lead to 42-35. The early surge was sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from senior Jordan Hicks. The Crusaders led by 10 with 16:27 to go, but the Ramblers stormed back again, staging a 10-0 run to tie the game at 46-46 with 11:21 remaining. Valparaiso regained control with 11-3 and 7-0 runs, going up 69-57 on a jumper by Bogan with 5:23 to play.