Dec. 21, 2004
Hamilton, NY (Dec. 21) -- Like their first trip across several time zones earlier this season, the Loyola Marymount University men's basketball team found themselves in a dogfight thanks to first half struggles. However, the Lions rebounded for a 64-54 come-from-behind victory over Colgate in Hamilton, NY, on Tuesday evening.
LMU struggled in the first half, shooting just 31 percent while turning the ball over eight times as they fell behind 33-27 at the break. The Lions recovered, turning the ball over just twice in the second half while holding Colgate to just 25 percent shooting to improve to 7-2 on the season. It is the Lions best start since 1995-96 when they began 9-1. Colgate falls to 3-6.
"We played a really sluggish first half and did not have our normal defensive intensity," said Head Coach Steve Aggers. "Credit Colgate for being well prepared and playing very hard. Once Colgate got the lead in the first half they were able to dictate the tempo and we struggled. We had uncharacteristic turnovers and our offensive execution wasn't what it normally is."
The Lions improve to 4-0 when trailing at the half thanks to out rebounding the Radiers 44-33 and forcing 15 turnovers on seven steals. Sophomore Matthew Knight had another solid outing for the Lions, scoring 18 points with nine rebounds, including four offensive. Junior Dustin Brown came off the bench to score 14 and senior Charles Brown added 13.
"Good teams will find a way to regroup after a sluggish first half and make adjustments at halftime," said Aggers. "We came out in the second half and played with much better energy and had a purpose. Once we got the lead in the second half, we were able to dictate the tempo and we played with the lead much better. Like we have done all season, we hit our foul shots in the end."
Colgate took a lead as large as eight in the first half, thanks mainly to the 19 first half points by Alvin Reed. However, the Lions shutdown Reed in the second half for no points and started the second frame with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 33-33 early in the second half.
Up by two, 47-45 with 10:18 remaining, LMU went on a 7-2 run over the next four minutes to take their largest lead of the game, 56-47, with 6:38 remaining on a baby hook by Daryl Pegram. The sophomore finished with eight points, all in the second frame, and seven rebounds.
Colgate would not go away, cutting the lead to 58-52 on a three-pointer by Andrew Zidar and a five-footer by Kyle Roemer with 4:22 remaining. Both defenses stiffened before Pegram hit a tip-in with 1:47 to make it 60-52.
Colgate's leading scorer coming into the game, Jon Simon with 16.0 points per game, would hit two free throws, his only points of the game with 53 seconds remaining to make it 60-54. The Lions answered by hitting four straight free throws, two by Damian Martin and Charles Brown, the final 45 seconds for the 10-point win.
"Winning on the road is very hard," said Aggers. "We played a hard game on Saturday (against San Diego State) and then flew over three time zones the next morning to play. The result was we were mentally fatigued. It is not an excuse and we have to learn how to adjust to tough situations and play better. Our guys showed some guts in the second half that we did not see in the first. It was good to get a road win."
The Lions will continue their road swing on the east coast as they travel to Virginia to take on the 25th-ranked Cavaliers on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 4:30 p.m. (PST).
The game against Colgate was the fifth contest played by the Lions in the state of New York. The Lions improve to 2-4 playing teams in New York and 11-4 overall against institutions from the state of New York.
The 54 points allowed by the Lions was the 18th time LMU has held an opponent under 60 points under Head Coach Steve Aggers. The Lions improve to 17-1 in those games holding teams under 60.
The Lions finished hitting 13-of-15 from the free throw line, a percentage of 85.7. It is the sixth straight game the Lions have finished hitting better than 80 percent from the charity stripe, making at least 12 in all of those games. For the season the Lions have hit better than 76 percent in every game but one on the season to lead the WCC with an overall percentage of 78.5.
The Lions finished with a 44-33 edge on the boards against the Raiders, the second straight game LMU has out rebounded an opponent by double digits. In each of those two games the Lions have finished with 20 offensive boards. It is the first time since Head Coach Steve Aggers first season (2000-01) the Lions have two games in one season with 20 or more offensive boards. In total, the Lions had just three games with 20 or more heading into this season. The Lions had 25 at UNLV (Jan. 3, 2001), 21 vs. Pepperdine (Feb. 21, 2003) and 20 vs. Pepperdine (Jan. 17, 2001)
- GO LIONS -