Nov 29, 2002
Anchorage, AK - The Loyola Marymount University men's basketball team, which has just 11 years of NCAA Division I experience among the 15 players, continues to take steps in this 2002-03 season. The Lions earned a 65-62 win over Montana to advance to the fourth place game of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout on Friday afternoon.
Trailing 59-56 with 1:39 remaining, sophomore Charles Brown hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 59-59. Freshman Brandon Worthy would give the Lions the lead for good 61-59 when he hit a pair of free throws. Worthy and junior Kent Dennis would each hit a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds to preserve the win. The Lions improve to 3-1 on the season and Montana falls to 1-3.
"This was a great win for this young basketball team," said Head Coach Steve Aggers. "It was good for this team to have to perform in a close ball game against a very good team down the stretch. I was very happy how we performed in special situations down the stretch."
With the victory the Lions advance to the fourth-place game of the 25th annual Great Alaska Shootout against Wyoming, who defeated host Alaska Anchorage 77-69. It will be the first time the two teams have met since the 1988 NCAA Tournament. The Lions defeated the Cowboys 119-115 to advance to the second round of the West Regional.
"It is great for this program to be playing for fourth place in this tournament against a quality opponent in Wyoming," said Aggers, who grew up in Laramie, Wyo. "I have a lot of respect for Wyoming and the direction their program is headed. This will be a great opportunity for our team to continue their growth." Aggers' father was the head athletic trainer at Wyoming and is inducted into the Wyoming athletics' hall of fame.
The Lions, who entered the game 0-3 lifetime against Montana, jumped out to an early double-digit lead. LMU would start the game on a 10-0 run and extend it to 14-1 with 13:32 remaining when senior Miroslav Neskovic
hit a pair of free throws. The Lions defense was solid in the first half, holding Montana without a field goal until the 13:05 mark of the first half. Montana shot 33.3 percent (10-30) in the first half and just 36.2 percent (21-58) for the game.
Montana slowly chipped away at the lead getting it down to five heading into halftime, 34-29. They would continue the push and take their first lead at 48-47 when Steve Horne hit a three-pointer with 10:27 remaining. Montana finished hitting 10-for-26 from the three-point line for the game, including a 5-for-11 effort from David Bell, who finished with 21 points. Horne finished with 14 points.
"We didn't play well the last 10 minutes," said Aggers. "However, it is a great sign for a young team to come together and battle back to win the game."
Montana would hold the lead and stretch it to six on a three-point play by Marcus Rosser with 6:57 remaining.
LMU would, for the second time this season, come from behind in the second half. Dennis would hit a three-pointer with 6:42 remaining to cut the lead to 55-52. Dennis would then hit one of two free throws to make the score 55-53. Bell would hit a pair of free throws and sophomore Sherman Gay would hit a lay-up on alternating posessions to keep the lead at just two, 57-55.
Montana would take a four-point lead with 2:32 remaining on Derrick Mansell's jumper. A free throw by junior Jason Dickens would cut the lead to 59-56 to set-up Brown's game-tying three-pointer.
- GO LIONS -