Lions roar again, beat No. 23 Saint Louis 75-68
LOS ANGELES (AP)
Loyola Marymount knocked off its second ranked opponent of the season Tuesday night. Still, coach Max Good is taking it in stride.
''You've got to do it over a period of time,'' he said after the Lions' 75-68 victory against No. 23 Saint Louis. ''You can't win a couple of games and think you've reached the mountaintop.''
The loss snapped the Billikens' six-game winning streak that returned them to the Top 25 for the first time since 1993-94.
LaRon Armstead scored a career-high 22 points, Anthony Ireland added 17 and Jarred DuBois 16, with the trio combining to go 19 of 20 from the free throw line for the Lions (4-2), who won their third in a row.
''When we had Anthony and Jarred in the game late I felt very confident,'' Good said. ''Defensively we were very good. What we convinced our guys we've got to do is play through everything. We just keep grinding.''
Previously, the biggest win this season for the Lions came in their opener when they beat then-No. 17 UCLA by 11 points on the road.
''This is a very big win,'' Armstead said. ''We're trying to move up. We need to win against teams that aren't ranked.''
Armstead had been averaging 8.3 points before his big outburst.
''I'm a senior and I try to set an example for guys who aren't starting,'' he said. ''I want to come off the bench and bring energy to the team.''
Saint Louis was coming off a tournament title at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, where it beat Boston College, Villanova and Oklahoma. The loss concluded a stretch for the Billikens of playing five of their first seven games on the road and left coach Rick Majerus three short of 500 career wins.
''We didn't have the blockouts and they hit some very tough shots,'' Majerus said. ''We were complacent in turning the ball over. They broke us down athletically. We didn't cover the way we had been. You can't be too tired to block out.''
The Lions got back into the game with a 20-6 run that extended over both halves. They scored 10 straight points to end the half trailing 30-26 before capping their spurt with consecutive 3-pointers by Ireland and DuBois that gave the Lions a 36-34 lead.
''Our coaches really prepared us for these teams, just knowing their tendencies,'' Ireland said.
The Lions forced a season-worst 15 turnovers by the Billikens, who were outrebounded 30-25.
''Coach instills defense,'' Armstead said. ''On offense, he lets us do what we want.''
Most of the second half was a back-and-forth game, with neither team leading by more than 10 points. The teams traded baskets until DuBois scored seven straight points to put the Lions ahead 58-52 with 7:07 remaining. That prompted former NBA great Gary Payton to jump to his feet cheering. Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Lakers also attended.
''Being down doesn't affect us that much because we know we have good players on our team,'' Armstead said. ''We knew everything they were going to do.''
The Lions gradually pulled away to lead 72-62, with Armstead and Ireland combining to score the team's final 13 points.
Both teams shot poorly to open a game that was tied three times in the first 7 minutes. The Billikens got untracked from long range, hitting four 3-pointers in a 16-3 run that gave them a 28-16 lead. Ellis had back-to-back 3s.