SAN ANTONIO, Texas – It took another second half comeback sparked by several career-high scorers to erase Loyola Marymount’s 12-point second-half deficit. The Lions (3-1) used a career-high 26 from Batemon, including 10-straight from the junior transfer, to beat Incarnate Word (3-1) for their first road win, 91-87.
“That little spurt that we got at the end of the first half gave us confidence that we could win this game,” said Head Coach Mike Dunlap. “We slowed them down a little bit with the zone in the second half and that seemed to help us. James Batemon had a phenomenal game and Eli Scott had another double-double. Those guys played heavy minutes and came through, but it was a real team effort.”
With the first half winding down, a three-point play put UIW ahead 46-34 in the final minute before halftime. LMU used a pair of Scott free throws, a Donald Gipson three, and a Scott jam to close it to a five-point game at the break, 46-41, and carry momentum into the locker room. Gipson finished with a career-high eight points including hitting his first two career from long range.
Cameron Allen opened the second half with a steal and pair of free throws to cut it to a three-point game. After a Cardinals three-point play on the other end, Zafir Williams added a second-chance bucket for his career-high 10th point. LMU again pounded the offensive glass for 19 offensive rebounds and 24 second-chance points in the game.
Entering the game, LMU ranked fourth in Division I with 17.33 offensive boards per game. The Lions grabbed 14 in the first half for 20 second chance points.
“Offensively, we found something with 40 points in the paint, so we were able to get that ball in with either post ups or drives. We did a good job of pounding the boards. Our ability to go 30-for-35 from the free throw line is incredible, and we proved that we needed every one of those. Last year we could not do that, and this year, to this point, we are proving that we can do that in the clutch.”
Despite cutting it to a one-possession game several times throughout the course of the second half, the Lions were unable to get their first lead of the game until late. Batemon scored 10 straight LMU points to erase a 74-69 deficit and put the Lions ahead for the first time all night, 77-74, with 4:22 on the clock. LMU would not forfeit their lead the rest of the night.
UIW shot 63-percent (17-for-27) from the field in the opening 20 minutes, but the shooting took a turn to 33-percent (10-for-30) after intermission.
The Lions will travel to Boise State next, playing the Broncos on Saturday night. The 7 p.m. mountain game / 6 p.m. pacific will air on the Mountain West Network.
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