Loyola Marymount 75, No. 21 Saint Mary’s (Cal) 60

Loyola Marymount’s biggest road win this season put the Lions

right in the thick of the West Coast Conference.

Anthony Ireland wants his teammates looking even farther down

the road.

Drew Viney scored 17 points, Ireland had 16 and Loyola Marymount

bounced back from one of its most lopsided losses of the season to

beat No. 21 Saint Mary’s 75-60 on Wednesday night.

Jarred Dubois added 15 points and Ashley Hamilton had 11 for the

Lions (17-10, 10-4 WCC), who silenced a capacity crowd at McKeon

Pavilion with a stellar performance on both ends of the court.

The 10 conference wins are the most by Loyola Marymount since

the 1989-90 Bo Kimble-led Lions made it to the regional finals of

the NCAA tournament.

Ireland, who spent a long stretch in the second half on the

bench in foul trouble, thinks this year’s Loyola Marymount team can

get back to the tournament.

”Our goal is to get in the tournament,” Ireland said. ”We

feel like we’re good enough so why not dream big?”

Saint Mary’s still has big postseason dreams but they took a

definite hit with the Gaels’ first home loss in 17 games this


”We’re disappointed we lost but LMU is a good team,” Saint

Mary’s point guard Matthew Dellavedova said. ”Our defense wasn’t

very good. We need to improve that and just pay attention to the

little things. If we can improve that, we’ll be OK.”

The game was reminiscent of the Gaels’ late-season conference

loss to unranked San Diego a year ago, which prevented Saint Mary’s

from clinching the outright conference title.

Some also believe it was the pivotal factor in the Gaels not

receiving an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament, something

that has to weigh on coach Randy Bennett’s mind with only three

games left on the schedule.

Loyola Marymount, on the other hand, is riding high only less

than a week after losing to No. 24 Gonzaga by 19 points.

”We’ve got a statement about turning the page and I’m the worst

in the world at doing that,” said Lions coach Max Good, whose team

is in the midst of a four-game run in nine days. ”I could not

believe when I looked up and saw we were up by 13, 14. It was

surreal, like it was a dream.”

The Lions snapped their 11-game losing streak to Saint Mary’s

with an aggressive, effective defense that kept the Gaels from

getting any kind of interior game going and an offense that

repeatedly scored off offensive rebounds to keep the overflow crowd


Rob Jones had 25 points and 15 rebounds for Saint Mary’s, which

shot just 6 of 28 from 3-point range, including 1 of 13 in the

second half.

The first-place Gaels (23-4, 12-2) saw their lead over Gonzaga

trimmed to one game and lost starting guard Stephen Holt to a right

knee injury in the first half.

”We’re in a conference race, I know that, but I’d just like to

be able to finish strong and get our guys back healthy,” Bennett


It was a rough night all around for Bennett’s squad.

Holt left the game and needed to use crutches after the game

while Dellavedova rolled his ankle and was limping noticeably.

Ireland got the Lions going early but it was Viney, the team’s

leading scorer, and Hamilton who came up big in the second half.

Viney made a 3-pointer to give Loyola Marymount a 52-42 lead with

9:24 left then later put an emphatic stamp on the win with a

soaring one-handed dunk from the baseline while Hamilton scored six

points in the final 5 1-2 minutes.

That helped the Lions improve to 9-3 on the road this season, a

big accomplishment for a team that has been beset by injuries to

several key players this season.

Even when Ireland went to the bench because of foul trouble late

in the second half, Loyola Marymount didn’t flinch.

Saint Mary’s could have clinched an automatic spot in the

semifinals of the conference tournament by beating Loyola

Marymount. Instead it was the Lions who improved their postseason

outlook while trimming the Gaels’ lead in the WCC to one game over


The Gaels missed five of their first six shots but came back to

take a 13-11 lead on Jones’ 3-pointer with 12:25 left that had the

standing room only crowd at McKeon Pavilion roaring.

Officials called a timeout to review Jones’ shot and the brief

delay seemed to bother Saint Mary’s, which fell back into its

offensive funk over the next 6 minutes.

Loyola Marymount, which hadn’t beaten the Gaels since the

semifinals of the WCC tournament in 2006, scored the next 10 points

and went ahead 30-20 on Ashley Hamilton’s free throw.

The conference leader in steals, Holt limped off the court

shortly after getting caught in a pile while scrambling for a loose

ball and spent the second half on the end of the bench with his

right knee wrapped in a thick bag of ice.

Without one of its top defenders and the team’s third-leading

scorer, Saint Mary’s struggled to find any consistency on either

end of the court.

The Gaels made two brief runs in the second half but couldn’t

get closer than five points.