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Foul Line Hinders Lions in Heartbreaker

Nov. 16, 2007

Albuquerque, NM - The Loyola Marymount men's basketball team erased a 13-point first half deficit, took a four-point second half lead but could not hang on as they fall to St. Bonaventure 61-50 in the first day of the BTI Invitational at the Pit in Albuquerque, NM.

Freshman Tim Diederichs scored a career-best 14 points to lead the Lions. He also had six rebounds. Junior Marko Deric finished with 12 points and six boards while senior Jon Ziri had five points, a team-high seven rebounds and seven assists. Michael Lee, who scored 10 of SBU's first 12 points in the second half to keep them in it, finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

"We got better today," said Head Coach Rodney Tention. "It didn't show on the scoreboard at the end, but we got better. We had a good defensive effort. I have to give them a lot of credit for their effort. We have to learn how to finish." The Lions defense was impressive, holding SBU to just 36.5 percent shooting, just 11.8 percent from the three-point line while forcing 20 turnovers.

In a game that was tied at 48-48 with less than five minutes to play, the foul line played a big role. The Lions were called for 27 fouls to just 17 for SBU. Meanwhile, SBU went 21-for-28 from the charity stripe to just 9-for-19 from the charity stripe for the Lions. LMU falls to 0-3 on the season while SBU goes to 2-1.

"Free throws were the difference tonight. We missed a few front ends of one-and-ones and the difference was 12 points," said Tention. "That was the game. We work on that every day. It was a big part of the game tonight."

The game looked to be out of control for the Lions as they fell down 30-18 with 5:52 to play in the first half. The young Lions showed maturity and closed the half on a 12-2 run, including a jumper by Brandon Walker at the Buzzer to get within a pair. The run continued into the second half as they opened with an 8-2 run to take a 38-34 lead on Deric's jumper with 15:12 to play.

"We showed great focus and execution during the run," said Tention of the Lions 20-4 run. "We didn't panic when we got down and we finally made a run on somebody. Now we have to do it for 40 minutes."

Both teams would take small leads over the next 10 minutes as the game featured 11 lead changes and was tied five times, including Deric's hook shot at 6:03 to make the score 48-48. It would be the Lions final field goal of the game and they would get just two free throws, one by Shawn Deadwiler and one by Ziri the rest of the way.

"It comes down to mental toughness," said Tention. "We got a little tight down the stretch and we have to learn how to win."

The Bonnies took advantage with a 13-1 run, getting just four field goals of their own in the final six minutes. But it was enough as they buried five free throws in the final 50 seconds to put the game on ice.

LMU continues play at the BTI Invitational on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. (PT) against Presbyterian. Listen live on KXLU 88.9 FM or on LMULions.com.