STOCKTON, Calif. – Following a regulation that featured nine ties and eight lead changes, it made sense that two teams that have played one another closely of late would go to overtime. The Tigers (6-9, 1-1 WCC) shot a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line in the extra period to defeat the Lions (5-8, 0-2 WCC), 88-82, in overtime.
The game was sent to overtime after Jeffery McClendon stripped the ball loose and forced a Pacific turnover with the score tied at 66 with 17 seconds on the clock. The steal allowed LMU to get a look for the win, and was one of the team’s three steals forced by McClendon.
Neither team could push it to more than a one-possession game over the final nine minutes of regulation, prompting the overtime session.
In the extra period, the Lions started 1-for-7 from the field, allowing the Tigers to gain the early lead. Pacific, made four of their five overtime shots, combined with the 14 free throws to not allow LMU to take advantage of 16 OT points of their own.
Steven Haney opened the game with a three, then Pacific rattled off six straight points to take the early lead. The first half home lead grew to as large as eight, 24-16, with 8:14 on the clock.
Mattias Markusson’s dunk at 2:15 to play in the first, started a quick 9-0 run to retake the lead and erase an eight-point deficit just before halftime. Cameron Allen’s lob to Eli Scott ended the half with six consecutive made baskets, and put the Lions ahead 38-33 at the break.
After the Tigers scored the first two baskets of the second half to cut it to one, James Batemon got to the bucket and finished a layup at the hoop.
The Tigers retook the lead for the first time in the second half with consecutive paint baskets with 13:07 and 12:14 to play, making it a 53-51 game, before Batemon tied in with a hoop and harm at the basket.
Batemon finished with a team-high 22 points. Eli Scott had himself a 15 and 7 night. Haney drained four threes as a part of his fifteen points and Markusson ended with a 12 point, eight rebound outing. Allen finished with a game-high six assists, his career-best.
Both teams shot above the 50 percent mark in the first 40 minutes, with LMU finishing the game at 48.4 percent (31-for-64).
The Lions will play their conference home opener on Thursday, Jan. 4 as Santa Clara kicks off 2018 in Gersten Pavilion. The weekend will conclude on Jan. 6 for a Saturday ESPNU-televised matchup with No. 20 Gonzaga.
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