Los Angeles, CA – The Loyola Marymount Lions kicked off their home conference schedule on Thursday night as they welcomed the Gaels of St. Mary’s University. St. Mary’s came in strong and took a 73-48 victory. The Lions were looking to pick up their first conference win of the season, after a woeful 0-3 road trip to open WCC play. Conversely, St. Mary’s came into Gersten Pavilion red hot, having won 7 straight games. The Gaels also stake claim to a West Coast Conference best 4-0 record thus far in conference play, and a conference leading 13-1 overall record.
The first half started off slow for the Lions, as they quickly found themselves down 18-8 after only 8 minutes of play. A key contributor to the early deficit was the Gaels dominance on the glass. LMU was finally able to grab their first rebound after nearly 9 full minutes had run off the game clock. After the shaky start LMU was able to find a little bit of a rhythm, starting with their ability to close out on St. Mary’s dangerous 3 point shooters. The Lions got themselves back into the contest and closed the gap to only 5 points with about 7 minutes to go in the half when Adom Jacko threw down a thunderous dunk over his late arriving defender. The final 5 minutes of the first half, however, belonged to St. Mary’s as they closed the half on a 7-0 run, with their star, Emmett Naar leading the way for them. Naar’s stellar first half ended with him drawing a hard contact foul while slashing to the basket as he did repeatedly throughout the game. He was able to regain his composure and connect on both ensuing free throws, as he ended the half with a remarkable 10 point, 3 assist, and 4 rebound halftime stat line while helping his team to a 33-21 halftime lead.
The Gaels came out in the second half with even more intensity than they showed in the first half, as they bullied the Lions on both ends of the floor. St. Mary’s showed why they are one of the most efficient teams in the nation from deep, as they connected on 62.5% of their 3 point attempts in the second half. They also demonstrated how stifling their defense can be as they held LMU to a putrid 36% from the field on the night. The deficit grew larger for the Lions as the night went on, however, the Lions does have something to be encouraged and excited about. As Adom Jacko again had an impressive showing, scoring 21 points and grabbing 8 rebounds against a very big and physical defense. Jacko will continue to be a nightmare for his opponents this season as he gains confidence and familiarity with his new team.
As the dust settled St. Mary’s walked away with another impressive win as the scoreboard read 73-48. With the win St. Mary’s improves to 14-1, and 5-0 in conference. They could possibly find themselves in the top 25 rankings when the next polls are released on Monday. LMU drops to 7-8 overall and 0-4 in conference. They will look to get off the schneid on January 9th at home when Pacific University comes to town.