PORTLAND, Ore. – A strong start to the second half erased a 10-point halftime deficit, giving Loyola Marymount a brief lead in a back-and-forth final stretch. The Lions (7-16, 2-10 WCC) had a look to win it at the buzzer, but could not get it to fall, losing to Portland (10-15, 4-8 WCC) by two, 68-66.
The Lions came out of the locker room firing, shooting 8-for-12 (66 percent) from the field and
hitting three triples as part of an 16-3 run to open the half. Jeffery McClendon, James Batemon, and Steven Haney, Jr. all hit from outside in that opening stretch to erase the deficit and give LMU the 43-40 advantage.
The Lions built the lead up to four points, but on two occasions in the second half, but neither team’s lead grew larger than that. The first LMU four point lead came on McClendon’s third three of the game en route to tying his career-high with 15 points to lead the Lions for the first time this season.
Haney was fouled shooting a three with 44.3 on the clock and calmly knocked down all three to cut the deficit to a 65-64 game. After the Pilots split free throws on the opposite end, the Pilots sent Haney back to the line where he again knocked down his shots and tied the game at 66-all.
Portland drew contact at the rim and was sent to the line for two more with 2.0 seconds. After LMU advanced the ball, Batemon had a look at the buzzer, but could not convert.
Free throws down the stretch were key for LMU. The Lions hit 12-of-13 from the line in the second half, compared to 1-for-7 in the first.
After the Lions tied the score for the fourth time in the early goings at 9-9, Portland strung together eight consecutive points to take a 17-9 lead before Cameron Allen drove to the basket for the layup.
Portland’s first-half lead grew to as large as 11, 35-24, before a Scott free throw made it a 37-27 game at the break. LMU opened the game 0-for-5 from the free throw line before that Scott make.
Haney’s two threes moves the senior into a tie with Anthony Ireland for fourth all-time in program history with 195 made threes in his career.
LMU now has a pair of home games including hosting conference unbeaten and nationally-ranked Saint Mary’s on Thursday night. The PCH Cup returns to the Bluff on Saturday with a 3 p.m. contest against Pepperdine.
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