Jovanovic's Putback A Winner in Northridge

Stefan Jovanovic hit the game winner Saturday.
Dec. 10, 2016

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Senior Stefan Jovanovic "willed himself" to be at the right place at the right time as his put-back with nine seconds remaining lifted LMU men's basketball to a 69-68 win over CSUN at the Matadome in Northridge, Calif., Saturday night.

CSUN's Kendall Smith hit a three-pointer with 2:04 left to give the Matadors (3-7) a 68-65 lead. Both teams would have empty trips before Jovanovic would drain a pair of free throws with 54 seconds left to cut the CSUN lead to one, 68-67.

Jeffery McClendon then forced a turnover by Smith, giving LMU the ball back with 30 seconds to play. After a timeout, the Lions set-up a play for Brandon Brown to drive the lane. He did so and drew a pair of defenders as his lay-up was off the mark. The lane was wide open for Jovanovic, who hit the game winner.

LMU (4-3) forced a pair of misses by CSUN in the final three seconds to ice the win.

Jovanovic led the Lions off the bench with 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Buay Tuach added 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Steven Haney Jr. hit the only two free throws by the Lions and finished with 10 points.

Smith and Darin Johnson had 16 points each.


• The game featured seven ties and 10 lead changes. The Lions led by as many as seven with 9:41 to play in the second half while CSUN's largest lead was six with 18:11 to play in the game.

• LMU had a season-high 50 points in the paint, outscoring CSUN 50-33. That led to the Lions hitting 50 percent from the field for the third time in four games, hitting 53.6 for the game (30-for-56). CSUN finished hitting 23-for-50 (46 percent). CSUN had an edge at the charity stripe, going 17-for-19 while the Lions went 7-for-15.

• CSUN held a 36-33 lead at the break and stretch it to six, 41-35, with 18:11. The Lions then went on a 10-0 run to take a 45-41 lead with 15:28 to play on a Brown jumper. Then with the game tied at 49-49, the Lions went on a 7-0 run to go up seven, 56-49. CSUN would tie it at 63-63 to set-up the finish.


"This team got a road win that was just mental toughness. It wasn't a technical game, it was a will game. We willed our self to the victory. I thought our defense was stubborn for the most part. We kept them in their home gym to under 70. They had been averaging in the 90s. It was a really good effort, by and large, defensively."

"Brandon had some good runs at the rim and it is what we wanted - our best player with the ball in his hands. Steph would have been the other guy who would have got the touch in that situation. It was good on a fallow-up. It isn't something you teach, he just willed himself to the rim and tapped it in."



The Lions will take the week off for finals before returning home to face Incarnate Word on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 4 pm. The game is part of Alumni Family Day which features a doubleheader with the women and a special Alumni Tailgate Party. The action starts at noon with the tailgate, followed by the women taking on UC Riverside at 1 pm. Alumni can get special discounted tickets for $15 (13 and older - 12 and under are free!). The price includes admission to both games, admission to the tailgate, complimentary drink ticket (21+ and adults only), and a meal voucher for the concession stand for a a hot dog and soft drink. The tailgate will continue between games. For discounted tickets to the game and tailgate party, click here.


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