LOS ANGELES – Loyola Marymount played No. 11 Saint Mary’s tight, cutting it to as close as seven in the second half before the WCC-unbeaten Gaels (24-2, 15-0 WCC) pulled away to beat the Lions (7-17, 2-11 WCC), 83-62.
“We tried to take the three ball away from them, and they are one of the best teams in the country at that,” said Head Coach Mike Dunlap. “It was encouraging at halftime with them being the number 11 team in the country. We have a lot of young guys that get big minutes and they play seniors. We learned in that game.”
Eli Scott put on the performance of the night for LMU, scoring 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting. He finished with his team-high fifth double-double after recording 10 rebounds, with five coming on the offensive glass and five on the defensive end.
"Scott is a special freshman,” said Dunlap. “His numbers are good and he’s powerful, smart, and learning. He continues to progress both offensively and defensively. I’m proud of his effort.”
Zafir Williams also opened strong. After earning a block on the defensive end, he scored his first basket on the ensuing offensive end to cut the deficit to 20-10. His top of the arc three was LMU’s next basket with 8:16 on the first half clock. Williams hit double figures with 11 points.
Late in the first half, James Batemon and Erik Johansson hit consecutive threes, then Batemon converted the three-point play as part of an 11-3 LMU run to cut the score to 32-24 with 4:22 remaining in the half. Saint Mary’s opened the game shooting 7-for-8 and finished the opening half at 57.7 percent (15-for-26) from the field, but only 25 percent from long range (2-for-8). The Gaels finished the game at 64 percent (32-of-50) and only hit six threes in total. Compared to the 44 percent (24-for-55) shooting of the Lions.
The Lions cut it to a seven point game early in the second half, 42-35 with 18:22 remaining, before Saint Mary’s closed out the game strong, winning 83-62.
“The reputation nationally is that this is a basketball conference,” said Dunlap. “When you have those teams pushing up, it just helps our whole conference.”
LMU remains at home this week, hosting the PCH Cup on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Family Weekend Activities include a special halftime recognition of the 1987-88 team on their 30th anniversary, as well as of longtime public address announcer, Bernie Sandalow.
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