Los Angeles, CA – The Lions of Loyola Marymount came into Saturday afternoon looking to get their first conference win on the season as they welcomed in the Pacific Tigers. With a final score of 60-58 the Lions came up just short of getting that first win. These two schools had faced off a total of 52 times dating back to the 1953-’54 season, with the win, the Tigers now lead the all time series by exactly one game with a 27-26 head to head record. LMU entered the contest fresh off a lopsided defeat at the hands of conference leading St. Mary’s. Pacific came in with the intention of bouncing back from a nip and tuck loss to Pepperdine on Thursday.
Both teams came out running, with neither group afraid to fire from deep. The action was fast and furious, but after trailing most of the half, LMU was able to put a string of points on the board and take a 31-30 lead at halftime. Early on it was the Tigers’ Maleke Haynes that set the tone. His break necking speed and uncanny vision enabled him to be a one man fast break. The Lions quickly made an adjustment going to a full court press in effort to get the ball out of Haynes’ hands. The problem with that approach was that Haynes had no problem facilitating the ball to his teammates. Haynes finished the first half with an impressive 4 assists and a few hockey assists for good measure.
With just under 8 minutes to go in the half, the Lions found themselves trailing by 7 points. That is when LMU found their groove defensively. David Humphries clamped down, finding his way into passing lanes for many tipped passes to go along with his three 1st half steals. Humphries was also a spark on the offensive end as he led the team with 8 points at halftime. Adom Jacko was in foul trouble early when he was called for a couple ticky tack fouls which in turned landed him on the bench for a large portion of the half. In his short time on the court Jacko was active, with 6 points and 5 rebounds.
The second half saw both teams going basket for basket all the way down to the wire. The lead changed hands 5 times in the half and the teams were tied 6 times, needless to say it was exciting basketball. Alec Kobre came alive for the Tigers in the second half as he tallied 14 points and 19 for the game. With 3:46 remaining in the game Kobre connected on a 3 point field goal as he was fouled. He was able to convert the subsequent free throw which put his team ahead by two at 52-50. The following possession for the Lions ended in a turnover and Kobre was again fouled on a jump shot the next trip down court. With the game appearing to slip away, Lions’ point man Brandon Brown stepped up, scoring the next 5 points of the game including an acrobatic layup in traffic with contact. The deficit was trimmed to just 1 point until Pacific was able to find a basket and extent the lead back to 3. With 1:26 to play Buay Tuach made a sensational drive to the basket with two defenders draped on his back and one meeting him in mid air, he was able to sink the shot and draw a foul. Tuach converted the 3 point play to knot things up at 58 with just over 1 minute to play. Pacific guard Ray Bowles, then brought the ball up court and made a dazzling pass inside to big man Jacob Lampkin for the go ahead bucket. LMU could not convert on their next opportunity, but they were able to force Pacific in to a missed field goal on the other end. With 19 seconds remaining Adom Jacko skied over 3 men to grab his seventh rebound of the evening, LMU coach Mike Dunlap decided not to use one of his two remaining timeouts, but rather let his guys run as they had been doing all game. Brown received the outlet pass, he dribbled up court and tried to find an open teammate, but none were to be found. Ultimately the ball was deflected out of Brown’s hands for a turnover and the Lions were not able to get the potential game tying shot off.
The 1,595 fans on hand were treated to a highly entertaining and competitive contest, unfortunately for the LMU faithful, the result was not as they hoped. With the loss the Lions fall to 0-5 in conference play and 7-9 overall on the season. Pacific now find themselves in the middle of the pack with a 3-3 conference record. Pacific will be in action next when they visit St. Mary’s on Jan. 14. LMU will now hit the road as they head north to face off against San Francisco on Jan. 14 followed by Santa Clara Jan. 16.