The Buckeyes held the Ramblers to 26.8 percent from the floor, by far their lowest percentage of the season. E.J. Liddell led Ohio State (20-11) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Malaki Branham added 14.
Braden Norris was the high man for Loyola (25-8) with 14 points. Lucas Williamson, playing in his final game for the Ramblers, finished with just four points on 1 of 10 shooting.
Story of the game
Chris Knight put Loyola on the board first just under two minutes in, converting inside to make it 2-0. Ryan Schweiger connected on a triple from the top of the key, stretching the Ramblers' lead to 5-2.
Ohio State responded by scoring five straight points, the last two of which came on a floater from Eugene Brown III that gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the afternoon at 7-5.
In a first half where nothing came easy on the offensive end, a layup by Aher Uguak snapped a lengthy scoring drought for Loyola and tied the game at 9-9 with 8:15 remaining.
Schwieger added a fast break bucket seconds later, putting the Missouri Valley champions back on top, 11-9, but Ohio State answered with an 8-0 surge, capped off by two free throws from Liddell to open up a 17-11 advantage.
Braden Norris drained a corner three to snap the run, but Branham countered with a dunk off a turnover to stake the Buckeyes to a 19-14 lead and force a timeout by the Ramblers with 3:49 to play.
Norris found the mark again from beyond the arc to bring Loyola within five at halftime, 23-18.
Ohio State was on target with its first three attempts from the field, with a Kyle Young jumper in the paint making it a 29-18 game, forcing a Loyola timeout with less than three minutes gone.
Norris again looked to provide a spark, hitting his third three of the day with 16:31 remaining to trim the deficit to 29-21. Points continued to be hard to come by and Lucas Williamson's first bucket of the game, a three, made it 37-26 with 12:46 left.
Schwieger was again on target from long range, cutting the Ohio State lead to 40-32 with over eight minutes to go, but a basket by Jamari Wheeler started a 6-0 run and the lead was never smaller than nine the rest of the game.