CHICAGO -- Marques Townes poured in a career-high 32 points and added eight rebounds and five assists to propel Loyola-Chicago to an 86-64 romp over Drake on Tuesday night.
Townes hit 11 of 18 shots, including all four of his 3-pointers, and sank 6 of 6 free throws as the Ramblers (15-9, 8-3) grabbed sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference after Valparaiso hit the road and upset the previous leader Illinois State 69-53.
Townes had 21 points by halftime and Loyola-Chicago grabbed a 48-32 lead at intermission when freshman Cooper Kaifes tossed up a shot from three-quarters court and hit nothing but net. The Bulldogs (17-7, 6-5) pulled within 61-52 on Anthony Murphy's layup with 10:18 left in the game, but Cameron Krutwig sandwiched layups around another Kaife 3-pointer to push the Ramblers lead to 16.
Krutwig finished with 19 points and nine rebounds for the Ramblers. Clayton Custer added 14 points and Kaifes scored 12.
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