Loyola of Chicago couldn't overcome Western Michigan's balanced attack and faded down the stretch in the second half in suffering their first loss of the season, 81-71, Friday night.
Playing in the USF Invitational in Tampa, Fla., the Ramblers trailed by only one point at halftime and were within striking distance midway through the second half until the hot-shooting Broncos pulled away over the final 10 minutes for the victory.
The Broncos took the lead for good on Austin Richie's 3-pointer that made it 57-55 with 8:15 left in the game. They led by as many as 14 points with less than a minute to play.
Led by senior forward Nate Hutchinson's 30 points, the Broncos had four players score in double figures. Senior forward Ben Averkamp led Loyola in scoring with 24 points. Matt O'Leary came off the bench to score 14 and forward Jordan Hicks added 12.
Both teams were left with 2-1 records.
Loyola next will play tournament host South Florida in the Sun Dome on Saturday. Western Michigan takes on Maryland-Eastern Shore.
The three-day event winds up Sunday with Loyola facing Maryland-Eastern Shore.