Feb. 16, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - After nearly five weeks of close calls that haven't gone their way, LMU men's basketball used its best offensive output since Dec. 30 to defeat rival Pepperdine, 82-79, at Gersten Pavilion Wednesday night.
With five setbacks in West Coast Conference play coming by a combined 15 points, the Lions got their offense rolling and saw their best production since an 87-80 win over UC Irvine on Dec. 30, 2010. The Lions finished the game shooting 53.8 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from three (9-for-17), and finished with 21 assists on 28 field goals. The nine three-pointers matches a season high for the Lions.
"We did a good job of running our offense, making the extra pass and getting the open man the right shot," said Head Coach Max Good. "We really needed this one. It has been a tough month where we had games and just couldn't finish. Tonight we finished and the hope is that we can use this to take further steps forward."
Drew Viney, who missed the last three games due to migraines, led the Lions (10-17, 2-10) with 21 points and seven rebounds. LaRon Armstead had his best game from the field since his freshman season, scoring 14 points, hitting 4-for-6 from the three-point line. Anthony Ireland also hit 4-for-6 from three to finish with 14 points, while Ayodeji Egbeyemi added 13 and Vernon Teel 11.
"I was happy with how we moved the ball," said Good. "We got contribution throughout our line-up. LaRon hit some big shots and made the most of his start. Drew scored some big points, but even bigger was the charge he took late in the game. Deji (Ayodeji) was 4-for-4 from the field and A.I. (Anthony Ireland) hit big three pointers, while he had six assists and just one turnover. It was a great team win that we needed very badly."
Mychel Thompson led all scorers with 29 points while Lorne Jackson had 22, all in the second half in which the Waves (11-18, 5-7) erased a 14-point deficit.
Jackson's fourth three-pointer of the second half gave Pepperdine a 75-74 lead with 3:57 to play. It was the Waves' first lead since 19:01 in the first half.
The lead was short lived as Viney scored four straight points to give the Lions a 78-75 lead with 1:52 to play.
After Jackson hit one-of-two free throws, Teel drained a pair of free throws to give LMU a two-possession lead, 80-76, with 35 seconds to play. The Lions would need every point as Thompson hit a deep three-pointer in traffic to cut the lead to 80-79 with 11 seconds left.
Pepperdine fouled Armstead, who then drilled both free throws for the three-point lead. Jackson had another chance at the tie with two seconds left, but his three was off the mark.
"We did a good job on defense down the stretch. While Thompson hit that three, it was covered well and we forced them into tough shots," said Good. "While we weren't great at the free throw line, down the stretch we hit them when they really counted." The Lions finished 17-for-25 from the free throw line (68 percent).
The Lions raced out to a 14-point lead at the break, 43-29, after shooting 53.6 percent from the field and hitting 7-for-13 three-pointers, including Ireland's long ball with a second left in the half.
Pepperdine, who shot just 40 percent in the first half, caught fire and started the half hitting better than 60 percent from the field. They would post an 11-2 run to cut the lead to three, 57-53, fueled by three straight three pointers. The Waves would finally tie the game at 68 with 6:07 to play.
Egbeyemi would score the next four points to give the Lions a 72-68 lead with 5:24 to play. Jackson would make the lead disappear with another three-pointer, making it 72-71. Thompson would tie the game again, 72-72, on a free throw with 4:30 on the clock.
Tim Diederich's dunk gave the Lions the lead back, but it was short lived as Jackson hit the three-pointer to set-up the final four minutes.
The Lions head to their ESPN BracketBuster meeting with Portland State on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. The game can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM and LMULions.com.
- GO LIONS -