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
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
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.