NORMAL — When Phil Fayne scored on a slick inside move and was fouled with 7:58 left, the Redbird Arena crowd was on its feet as Illinois State's basketball team took its first lead in about 31 minutes.

It didn't last long.

The Ramblers went on a 12-2 run to take control. Aundre Jackson led four Loyola players in double figures with 15 points as the Ramblers downed ISU, 68-61, in a Missouri Valley Conference basketball game Wednesday night before a Redbird Arena crowd of 4,466.

“We got beat by a better team tonight. They play so hard and disciplined,” said ISU coach Dan Muller. “We got the lead, make a terrible foul and give up all the momentum and never got the lead back. It was lack of discipline and lack of toughness by my team.”

Fayne paced ISU (9-8, 3-2 MVC) with 14 points. Milik Yarbrough added 13 points and eight assists, but committed nine of ISU's 18 turnovers. The Ramblers outscored the Redbirds, 25-10, on points off turnovers.

Junior point guard Clayton Custer followed Jackson with 14 points for the Ramblers (13-4, 3-2), playing 36 minutes in his second game back since missing five games with an ankle injury. Loyola is 11-1 with Custer in the lineup.

It was the Ramblers' first victory at Redbird Arena since joining the MVC for the 2013-14 season. Loyola lost a pair of two-point games the last two years.

The win also was the first for Loyola coach Porter Moser at Redbird Arena since Feb. 20, 2007 when he was in the last of his four seasons as ISU's coach.

“We've been frustrated the last two years (at Redbird Arena),” said Moser, who hugged each Loyola player leaving the court. “It's almost so far removed. I'm so happy for our locker room of where we are going this year. It's all about this year's team. Maybe later I'll think about it, but I look in the locker room and see how excited those guys are.”

Marques Townes added 12 points and Brunon Skokna scored 11 off the bench as the Ramblers shot 52.3 percent from the field and outrebounded ISU, 27-23.

Loyola extended a five-point halftime lead to 36-28 with 18:21 left. Isaac Gassman's third 3-pointer drew ISU within 38-36 before Loyola pushed the margin back to six.

But a 10-3 run gave ISU the lead. Fayne scored seven straight points for the Redbirds, capped by a slick reverse pivot to his right for a layup and foul that put ISU ahead 46-45 with 7:58 left, its first lead since 2-0.

However, Yarbrough picked up an offensive foul, his fourth of the game, with 7:24 left. Loyola immediately took advantage. Custer hit a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer as the Ramblers went ahead, 50-46, with 6:37 left.

Muller reinserted Yarbrough, but the Redbirds committed three turnovers on their next four possessions. Townes' drive capped a 12-2 run that gave Loyola a 57-48 lead with 2:47 left and the Ramblers were in the clear as ISU lost its first MVC game at Redbird Arena since Jan. 15, 2016.

“I'm really proud of our guys and happy for them for finishing out the game,” said Moser. “They played really hard. I'm happy for them for where we're going as a team and the confidence we're getting. We beat a very good team today that had not lost in this building in about 1,200 days.”

Muller didn't like what he saw out of his team, which shot 46.9 percent from the field.

“We haven't worked much on our offense the last couple days,” he said. “We focused on our defense, which we will continue to do. In the post I thought we played well, but I thought our ball screen offense was terrible.

“We tried to make some passes we shouldn't try to make. We continued to do it and it didn't work. We told them not to and kept trying and trying.”

Fayne said he felt the Redbirds let down defensively after taking the lead.

“We had a lot of fouls we shouldn't have,” he said. “We weren't able to get anything going on offensive end, either.”

Keyshawn Evans and Gassman added 11 points each for the Redbirds, who travel to face Southern Illinois at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Follow Jim Benson on Twitter: @Pg_Benson


Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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