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Jalen Cox leads Loyola to key win over St. Francis in Mission League

Senior point guard Jalen Cox of Loyola was trying to will his team to victory Monday night in a Mission League showdown against St. Francis. Whenever the Cubs needed him to deliver, Cox found a way.

Take the example of 1:02 left and his team down by a point. Cox fired up a three-pointer from the top of the key. It banked in.

“Shooter’s touch,” he said.

Cox finished with 21 points to help Loyola improve to 18-2 overall and 2-0 in the league with a hard-fought 58-53 win over visiting St. Francis. For first-year Loyola coach Damaine Powell, a former USC guard, seeing his point guard flourish was something he predicted months ago.

When Cox is on, so are the Cubs. He didn’t score in the first quarter, when St. Francis (11-4, 0-1) opened an 11-8 lead. Then he had nine points in the second quarter. The game was closely fought. The score was tied at 41, 43 and 45 in the fourth quarter.

“It was more effort,” Cox said of the Cubs. “We started lackadaisical. We turned it up.”

A trapping press at half court produced two decisive turnovers for the Cubs that took away a St. Francis lead. Buckley DeJardin had a big game for St. Francis, making 12 of 12 free throws and finishing with 21 points. Jonas De Krassel made a clutch three-pointer in the fourth quarter for Loyola. Parker Jones and Chase Toliver each had 11 points.

Loyola has put itself in position to finish third in the Mission behind Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Harvard-Westlake, though the Cubs still get to play the two favorites.

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