LOS ANGELES – Loyola Marymount ends the regular season winning two-straight after the Lions erased a 16-point second half deficit on Saturday against Pacific. The LMU (10-19, 5-13 WCC) bench outscored the Tigers (14-17, 9-9 WCC) reserves 19-2 in the second half to secure the 74-71 victory.
“I think the Santa Clara win gave us the confidence on what to do when we are flat,” said Head Coach Mike Dunlap. “At halftime, we went into a press and went to small-ball. Mattias did a good job, but we needed a little more pressure.”
The turning point came with the Lions down 13 points in the second half. Zafir Williams responded with three consecutive baskets to go on a personal 6-0 run and excite the home crowd with 11 minutes remaining. Williams finished with 15 of his career-high 17 points in the second half.
“You need one wild card, and Z’s been playing better and better,” said Dunlap. “It’ll be nice to have Z’s momentum going into the WCC Tournament.”
Still at a seven-point game with just over eight minutes on the clock, the Lions rattled off 11-consecutive points to take their first lead of the second half, 65-61. The Lions had steals on four-straight possessions to cap that run. Jeffery McClendon added to his conference-lead with five more steals in the win.
After Pacific tied the score for the eighth time in the game, then took the lead back 68-67, James Batemon scored five straight points to give LMU the lead back once more. Batemon scored LMU’s final seven points to tie Pacific’s Roberto Gallinat for the game-high with 23 points apiece.
Eli Scott had a complete game, recording a game-high 11 rebounds, a team-high 6 assists, and eight points.
Mattias Markusson did his damage in the first half, scoring eight points and six rebounds before the break. The sophomore center finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
LMU improved their shooting in the second half going up to 63.3 percent (19-for-30) from 36.7 percent (11-for-30). The Lions also controlled the ball exceptionally well, committing a season-low six turnovers.
Loyola Marymount carries their two-game winning streak into the West Coast Conference Tournament. LMU’s matchup will be with Portland in the 8/9 game on Friday at 6 p.m. from the Orleans Arena. The game will air on Spectrum Sportsnet in Los Angeles and TheW.tv out-of-region.
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