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MENâ€™S HOOPS CONCLUDES ROAD TRIP WITH LOSS TO LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
LOS ANGELES -- Loyola Marymount’s Drew Viney scored a game-high 15 points and Godwin Okonji added 11 points and six blocked shots as the Lions defeated Sacramento State, 69-49, in a non-conference men’s basketball game Tuesday evening at Gersten Pavilion.
Both teams played relatively even through the game’s first 13 minutes, as a jumper from senior Sultan Toles-Bey drew the Hornets within three points of LMU’s lead (20-17) with 7:04 remaining. However, the Lions responded with a 10-0 run to take a 30-17 lead with 2:48 left in the half. LaRon Armstead scored all seven of his points during the run, including his only made field goal of the game (a three-pointer) at the 5:30 mark.
The Hornets could never quite recover from the big run, as Sacramento State got within eight points (32-24) early in the second half on a three-point play from junior Zach Nelson. However, the Lions thwarted any Hornet threat by scoring the game’s next eight points to take control. Loyola Marymount led by at least 12 points the final 17:04 as the 20-point margin of victory was also the team’s largest lead of the night.
Sacramento State has dropped three in a row and five of six while falling to 2-6 on the young season. Tonight marked the conclusion of a three-game road trip, and the Hornets will play their lone home game during the month of December this Friday, Dec. 10, against William Jessup at 7:05 p.m.
Loyola Marymount has now won three of its last four while improving to 5-5 overall and 3-1 on the home floor. LMU also improved to 7-0 all-time against the Hornets in a series which dates back to 1992.
The Hornets shot below 35 percent from the field in all three games during the road trip and had trouble making shots from the perimeter and free throw line. During the three-game stretch, Sacramento State combined to shoot 31.9 percent (53-166) from the field, 18.8 percent (9-48) from the three-point line and 47.8 percent (22-46) from the free throw line.
In tonight’s game, Sacramento State was limited to just 16 field goals as the team shot 29.1 percent (16-55) from the floor and 28.6 percent (4-14) from the three-point line. The Lions held a slight 41-38 rebounding advantage, but outscored the Hornets by a 17-11 margin in second-chance points. Loyola Marymount finished the game shooting 43.4 percent (23-53) from the field, and all but two of the Lions’ makes came off assists. LMU also had 11 blocked shots (the most by a Hornet opponent this year) and altered several more attempts. The combination of Okonji (6), Viney (3) and Ashley Hamilton (2) accounted for all 11 blocks.
Viney’s 15 points accompanied three three-pointers, six rebounds, three assists and the three blocks. He was one of four Lion players to score in double figures, including Okonji, Vernon Teel (13 points, six assists) and Larry Davis (13 points, seven rebounds and two steals).
For Sacramento State, sophomore John Dickson narrowly missed his first career double-double as the forward finished with team highs in both points (11) and rebounds (9). The nine rebounds were a career high, surpassing his previous best of seven. Toles-Bey finished with 10 points, and Nelson added eight points and six rebounds (all six boards came in the second half). No other Hornet finished with more than six points. Walter Jackson and Antoine Proctor also had six rebounds for Sacramento State.
Receiving his first start of the season, and a season high in minutes (21), true freshman point guard Kendell Groom responded with five points, two rebounds and a game-high three steals. Groom and fellow true freshman Jackson Carbajal (five points on 2-for-3 shooting) were the only Hornets to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor.
Sacramento State was playing with just nine players as junior center Alpha N'Diaye missed his third straight game with an ankle injury. Juniors Heath Hoffman and Josh McCarver missed the game for disciplinary reasons. Nelson (toe) and Jackson (ankle) played 19 and 26 minutes, respectively, despite nagging injuries.
After the Hornets’ home game against William Jessup on Dec. 10, the team will embark upon a four-game road trip that will not see Sacramento State return to the Nest until Jan. 6. The team plays at McNeese State (Dec. 19) and Oklahoma (Dec. 21) to begin the trip.
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