By The Associated Press
CHICAGO – On a night when a historic chapter for Mississippi State basketball was celebrated, the current crop of Bulldogs continued to struggle.
Devon Turk scored a career-high 21 points as Loyola of Chicago beat Mississippi State 59-51 on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (3-6) are winless in all six games away from home this season.
Saturday’s game marked the first meeting between the teams since they played a historic game in the 1963 NCAA tournament that helped change race relations on the basketball court.
The all-white Bulldogs had to sneak out of Mississippi to avoid an injunction in order to play Loyola, which had four African-American starters, in the NCAA Regional in East Lansing, Mich.
Mississippi State took an early 6-0 lead and held a 17-14 advantage before Loyola (7-3) went on a 20-3 run to take control at halftime, 34-20.
“In every game, we have a situation where we don’t score,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “Our guys are young and inexperienced; they don’t know how to grind through that. We are doing some things well defensively. However, we don’t know what we need to do to grind through those offensive problems.”
Christian Thomas added 16 points for the Ramblers, who’ve won five of their last six games and have already equaled their win total from last season.
Fred Thomas had 14 points for Mississippi State and Roquez Johnson added 13 for MSU, which shot just 37.5 percent.
The Bulldogs closed within 11 in the early stages of the second half but could not close within single digits until Tyson Cunningham hit a 3-point basket in the closing seconds.
The Bulldogs had a season-high eight blocked shots, including five from Gavin Ware.
MSU returns to action at Saturday for a neutral site contest with Central Arkansas. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.