Second Half Run Handcuffs Short-handed Lions
After solid first half and halftime lead, Lions shot just 29 percent in second half to fall to Pilots.
Feb. 13, 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. -- LMU jumped out a double-digit lead in the first half only to see Portland turn the tables in the second half tanks to a 22-2 run on their way to a 71-64 win over the Lions in West Coast Conference play at the Chiles Center Thursday night.
The first half saw the Lions hit 48 percent to build a lead as large as 14 while Portland hit 39.3 percent, hitting 3-for-9 from three. It was a different tale in the second half as the Lions shot just 29 percent while Portland hit 58 percent, including 5-for-9 from three.
"Clearly we came out really well and our defense really set the tone," said Head Coach Max Good. "In the second half we let up just enough for the first six minutes or so and good teams will jump on that. And boy Portland jumped on it. Give them credit, they became the aggressor."
The Lions (11-15, 3-11), with just seven scholarship players, were led by freshman Evan Payne with a game-high 21 points for the Lions, followed by Anthony Ireland with 15 and Alex Osborne with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Portland (14-11, 6-7) were led by Ryan Nicholas with 16, scoring eight in each half. Bryce Pressley and Thomas Van Der Mars had 14 apiece while Bobby Sharp added 11. Pressley and Sharp hit four of the five three-pointers in the second half to post the come back.
"We fought through the run and had a shot to come back, but we just couldn't get that bucket to make it a one possession game," said Good.
The Lions led 33-19 after a pair of Payne free throws and held onto a 36-29 lead at the break. After that the Pilots got hot.
After Osborne scored the first bucket of the second half just nine seconds in to make it 38-29, the Pilots rolled off the next 14 points on their way to a 22-2 run to build a lead as large as 12, 58-46.
The Lions would go 0-for-8 with three turnovers while Portland hit 9-for-13 from the field to grab the double digit lead during the run.
Osborne would bookend the run with the first field goal in 7:29, making it 51-42 with 12:22 to play.
The Lions managed to cut the lead to four on several occasion just to see the Pilots answer. Osborn hit a pair of free throws to cap an 8-0 run to make it 58-54 with 7:22 to play. The Lions had four chances to cut into the lead even more but couldn't hit.
The Pilots pushed the lead back to nine, 63-54, on a Pressley three with 4:47 to play. LMU would get to four once again, 65-61, on an Ireland lay-up with 2:34 to play. Freshman Gabe Levin would generate a charge call and the Lions got the ball back. Ireland had a look at three-pointer but couldn't hit.
LMU would get no closer.
The final road trip of the regular season concludes at Gonzaga on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 5 pm. The game can be seen on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.