VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Ben Averkamp scored 16 points and had four blocked shots Wednesday night as Loyola of Chicago beat Valparaiso 63-54 in the Horizon League opener for both schools.
Ryan Broekhoff led Valparaiso (10-5) with 15 points and seven rebounds. Kevin Van Wijk also had seven rebounds, and contributed 10 points. LaVonte Dority also scored 10 points for the Crusaders, going 8 for 8 from the free-throw line.
Loyola led 26-24 at halftime. Broekhoff made a 3-pointer for Valparaiso early in the second half, but Thomas' layup with 18 1/2 minutes to go put the Ramblers ahead for good.
The Big 12/SEC Challenge will again feature Kansas and Kentucky, this time at Rupp Arena. That's not the only exciting matchup in next season's midseason conference showdown.
Northwestern has never made the NCAA tournament, but the Wildcats' upward trajectory suggests 2016-17 could finally be the season it happens.
Dillon Brooks, who led Oregon with 16.7 points per game last season, and Tyler Dorsey will opt out of the NBA draft process and return to the Ducks, sources told ESPN.