Lion Seven Can't Get Upset
Men's basketball battles Gonzaga to the end but can't overtake Gonzaga on senior day.
Feb. 15, 2014
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Playing in the toughest arena on their senior night, LMU men's basketball and their seven scholarship players made Gonzaga earn it the hard way. The Lions short roster caught up with them, especially in the paint, as the Zags pulled away for an 86-67 win.
Already at a size disadvantage, the Lions were down to six scholarship players after Osborne fouled out with 8:07 to play. The Zags made the short-handed Lions pay, holding a 40-25 edge on the glass, outscoring the Lions 22-4 on second chance points and holding a 38-24 edge in scoring in the paint.
"They have such a size advantage and add to that our limited roster, it just was very tough for us," said Head Coach Max Good. "With that said, we battled them the entire 40 minutes and I was so proud of how we never backed down. With all the emotion they had going for them, we faced it head on and made them earn it. The score doesn't show it, but we really battled them about as well as we have in this building in a long time."
Anthony Ireland, who played all 40 minutes, would lead the Lions with his 41st 20-point game with 23 points, five assist, three steals and three rebounds, moving past Forrest McKenzie for third place all-time in LMU history with 2,077 career points. Freshmen Evan Payne and Gabe Levin added 17 apiece for the Lions (11-16, 3-12).
Senior Sam Dower Jr. did most of the damage for Gonzaga (22-4, 13-1), scoring 25 points with 15 rebounds, hitting 9-for-14 from the field. Kevin Pangos hits a trio of three-pointers and finished with 17 while Gary Bell Jr. had 14.
"Dower killed us at our place and he really did it again," said Good. "When we started to get into foul trouble that really limited us even more and they took advantage."
Despite the size advantage, the Lions never went away.
Gonzaga looked to pounce early with an eight-point lead put Levin's jumper with 6:52 to play made it 23-20. The Zags would then go on a 17-6 run to take a 14-point lead which they would hold thanks to a Kyle Dranginis three-pointer at the buzzer, making it 45-31 at the break.
Levin would pace the Lions to start the second half, cutting the lead to eight, 52-44, with 14:41 to play. The lead would grow to 13 again just to see the Lions charge back on a Payne three-pointer and an Ireland free throw, making it 61-52 with 8:56 to play.
After Osborne's foul out, Dower had three offensive putbacks to push the lead back to double digits, one they would hold this time.
Gonzaga finished hitting 46.8 percent from the field and 8-for-25 from three (32 percent). The Lions finished 44.2 percent from the field, hitting 4-for-13 from three (30.8 percent). LMU, ranked ninth in the nation from the free throw line, showed why, hitting 17-for-19 (89.5 percent). Gonzaga hit 20-for-25 (80 percent).
LMU returns home for Spirit Week where students have a chance to win a year's tuition with more special promotions and activities all week. It starts with women's basketball hosting San Diego on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7 pm. At the center will be the Lions' rematch with rival Pepperdine in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup battle on Thursday, Feb. 20. There will be a pregame tailgate party with a student toga giveaway at starting at 6 pm with game time set for 8 pm. Halftime will feature an opportunity for a student to win a year's tuition in addition to a special guest performing with the pep band. The week continues with LMU baseball facing Oregon on Friday with another chance for a student to win a year's tuition. It continues through the weekend with women's basketball senior day on Saturday at 2 pm against BYU. At halftime will be a third and final chance for free tuition for a year. For more information, visit LMULions.com/Tickets.