Feb. 12, 2005
Los Angeles, CA (Feb. 12) - Over the past several seasons, Loyola Marymount has seemed to give the 14th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs fits, matching up better than most schools in the tough West Coast Conference. It was more of the same, as the Lions had sophomore Damian Martin's three-pointer at the buzzer bounce out to allow the Zags to escape with a 61-58 win at Gersten Pavilion on Saturday night.
Playing in front of the fifth largest crowd in school history of 4,337, the Lions held Gonzaga to its lowest point total in WCC play since they had just 59 in a 75-59 loss to San Diego on Feb. 4, 1999. Despite forcing 20 Gonzaga turnovers on 12 steals, the Lions defense wasn't enough. LMU falls to 11-13 on the year and 3-8 in WCC play. Gonzaga remains in first place in the WCC at 19-4 overall and 9-2 in conference.
"I was really proud of our effort and the way we controlled the tempo tonight," said Head Coach Steve Aggers. "Defensively we played terrific and we guarded the three-point line really well."
The Lions held Gonzaga to just 42 percent shooting from the floor and 15 percent from the three-point line. Sophomores Matthew Knight and Brandon Worthy each scored 13 for the Lions as Knight added a four steals. LMU shutdown guard Derek Raivio, who had scored at least 15 points the last six contests, was held to three points and just four assists. However, senior Ronny Turiaf led all scorers with 20 and Adam Morrison added 16.
"LMU really has found a way to play us well each time we play them," said Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few. "They are always very well prepared for us."
Gonzaga entered the break with a 32-28 lead and extended it to 36-28 two minutes into the second frame. LMU would then go on a 13-4 run that was capped by sophomore Brandon Worthy to give the Lions a 41-40 lead with 12:22 remaining. A Wes Wardrop three-pointer gave LMU a 44-42 lead with 10:10 remaining.
The Bulldogs took the lead back and a David Pendergraft lay-up put the Zags up seven, 53-46, with 6:04 remaining. LMU would not go away, going on another run, this time a 9-2 stretch to even the score at 54-54 with 1:21 remaining on a lay-up by Wardrop.
Morrison answered with a three off the wing with 59 seconds remaining to make it 57-54 Gonzaga. Knight followed with a lay-up to make it 57-56 with 43 seconds remaining. JP Batista capitalized on a three-point play to make it a four-point game with just eight seconds on the clock.
Raivio would foul out and send Damian Martin to the foul line. He hit both with three seconds on the clock to make it a two-point game against at 60-58. Morrison hit just one free throw without anytime coming off the clock to set-up the final seconds. Martin took the inbounds and had an open look at the top of the key. His shot left the hand right before the buzzer, hit front iron, back iron and then bound out off the front.
"Our four shooting really hurt us tonight," said Aggers, whose team hit just 7-for-15 from the charity stripe compared to Gonzaga's 17-for-24. "It is ironic as our foul shooting has been among the nation's leaders all season. However, we did what we had to do tonight to put ourselves in position to win."
The Lions finished with just seven turnovers to the Zags 20, scoring 20 points off turnovers. Gonzaga hurt the Lions on the glass, out rebounding LMU 50-30, including 12 from Morrison and 11 from Turiaf. Knight had eight to lead the Lions.
LMU will play its final three games on the road, starting with Saint Mary's on Thursday.
· Tonight's attendance is 4,337. It is the second time in two weeks the Lions set the fifth highest attendance mark in school history, breaking the mark of 4,302 set on Jan. 29 against Pepperdine. The sellout crowd is the 14th in school history and the first time the Lions have had two sellouts in the same season since the 1989-90 campaign.
· Senior Charles Brown, playing in his final home game of his career, played in his 113th game as a Lion. He was the 17th player in 92 years of college basketball at LMU to play in at least 100 career games. He is now ranked fourth all-time.
- GO LIONS -