LOS ANGELES – Following six early lead changes, it was all Loyola Marymount for the final 34 minutes on Saturday as LMU (7-16, 2-9 WCC) won their second conference game and knocked off BYU (18-5, 7-3 WCC), 76-69.
“I’m just really happy for the players,” said Head Coach Mike Dunlap. “To get this game against a very good team on the upper end of the conference is great for our guys.”
The game was controlled by the play of James Batemon and Eli Scott. The two combined for 47 points and Scott finished with his team-high fourth double-double of the year after putting together a 19 and 10 performance. Batemon led all scorers with 28 points on 9-for-14 shooting.
Scott opened the game with the first four points including a soaring alley-oop which he slammed home to give the home team an early 4-0 lead.
After BYU took a 14-13 lead, LMU scored the next nine points capped by another Scott power dunk, which he converted for the three-point play.
The first-half lead grew to 25-16 as James Batemon beat the shot clock with a three at the 10 minute mark of the half.
The Lions pushed it to double digits as Batemon stole the ball and pushed it up the floor for the transition layup. At that point in the game, Batemon and Scott’s 28 combined points were outscoring BYU’s total 24 points.
The LMU lead grew to as high as 16 in the second half, but BYU did not go away, cutting it to as close as a five-point game.
Zafir Williams added a dozen points off the bench on 5-for-6 shooting.
“We were trying to keep Bryant and Haws and their shooters from getting open looks,” said Dunlap. “When we went to their place they got threes at will and we were able to cover that much better today.”
In the first meeting, BYU shot 59.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from three against LMU, the second-highest mark the Lions have allowed an opponent to shoot this season. In Saturday’s game, LMU held the Cougars to 5-for-24 (21 percent) from long range.
LMU had not beaten the Cougars since 2013, when the Lions won 87-76 in Gersten Pavilion. Saturday’s win snaps a 10-game skip to BYU.
The Lions look to continue the big week on Saturday with a trip to Portland. The WCC Game of the Week will tip at 1 p.m. on Spectrum Sportsnet,
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