FURIOUS LATE RALLY COMES UP SHORT AS MENâ€™S BASKETBALL FALLS TO LOYOLA MARYMOUNT, 82-78
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Loyola Marymount opened the first and second halves on 10-0 and 9-0 runs, respectively, and withstood a furious second half Hornet rally to top Sacramento State, 82-78, in a non-conference men’s basketball game Sunday afternoon at the Nest.
After the Lions opened up a game-high 21-point lead (58-37) with 12:11 remaining in the contest, Sacramento State went on a 38-19 run over the next 11:42. The run was capped by a John Dickson three-point play with 29 seconds remaining and drew the Hornets within, 77-75. LMU’s Vernon Teel then made 1-of-2 free throws with 22 seconds to play, giving Sacramento State a chance to tie. The Hornets ran a play for Antonio Flaggs, who had a nice look from the left elbow, but his three-point attempt fell off the mark and the rebound was gobbled up by the Lions’ Jared DuBois.
After DuBois made both his free throws with 10 seconds to play, the Hornets’ Sultan Toles-Bey buried a three-pointer with six seconds remaining to again cut the deficit to two points (80-78). Sacramento State immediately fouled Teel on the inbounds play with five seconds left. Teel, who had been 3-of-9 from the free throw line, buried both attempts to put the game away and provide the final margin of 82-78.
Sacramento State played from behind all afternoon, as the Hornets never had a lead during the entire contest. That was due, in part, to the Hornets’ poor starts to both the first and second halves. LMU raced out to a 10-0 lead with 17:19 to play in opening half, and used a 9-0 run to open the second half and take a 46-30 cushion with 17:33 remaining. That amounted to LMU outscoring the Hornets, 19-0, during a combined 5:08 of the opening portions of the first and second halves.
With the victory, Loyola Marymount, which has road wins at USC and Notre Dame this season, improved to 7-7 overall. The Lions also improved to 6-0 all-time against Sacramento State in a series which dates back to 1992.
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Hornets and dropped the team to 6-8 this season. Sacramento State and Loyola Marymount, which are two of the more improved teams in the country, both have four more wins that all of last season. The Hornets were attempting to complete their first perfect homestand of at least three games long since the 2005-06 squad accomplished the feat.
“As a coach, you are always proud when your team shows the ability to battle back in a game,” Sacramento State second-year head coach Brian Katz said. “But, at the same time, we can’t afford to fall behind like that at the beginning of each half. I thought (the slow starts in each half) was the difference in the game.
“I really like the way our team stays feisty and committed, and seems to find a way to stay in the game even when we aren’t playing well.”
DuBois led all players with 24 points, including 15 in the second half, and led an LMU attack that shot 47.5 percent (28-59) from the floor, 36.8 percent (7-19) from the three-point line and 63.3 percent (19-30) from the free throw line. The Lions also held a 48-35 advantage in the rebounding department, but Hornets did manage to outscore LMU in second-chance points, 16-9. All but nine of Loyola Marymount’s 82 points came from non-starters.
DuBois led a quartet of Lions with double-figure points, comprised of Teel (20 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists), Drew Viney (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Kevin Young (10 points, five rebounds). All four of those players appeared in the game for at least 30 minutes, and DuBois and Teel (16 second-half points) combined to score 31 of the Lions’ 45 points in the second half. Sacramento State trailed, 37-30, at halftime before outscoring Loyola Marymount in the second half, 48-45.
Sacramento State had four players score in double figures, comprised of Toles-Bey (17 points), Flaggs (14 points), Dickson (14 points, seven rebounds) and Justin Eller (14 points, six rebounds). The Hornets, who also received eight points and six rebounds from Michael Selling, finished the game shooting 38.5 percent (25-65) from the field, 41.2 percent (7-17) from the three-point line and 80.8 percent (21-26) from the free throw line. The Hornets turned the ball over a season-low eight times and outscored the Lions in points off turnovers, 18-8.
After missing his first eight shots of the game, Dickson made four of his last five attempts and scored five of his points during the final 3:02 of the contest. Twelve of Toles-Bey’s 17 points came in the second half, and 11 of Flaggs’ 14 points came after intermission.
Sacramento State returns to action next week when it jumps back into Big Sky Conference play for road games at Eastern Washington (Thursday, Dec. 31, at 3:05 p.m.) and Portland State (Saturday, Jan. 2, 7:05 p.m.). The Hornets are 1-1 thus far in the Big Sky, having lost to Weber State and knocking off Idaho State at home.