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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Nov. 22, 2006

Gonzaga - 82
North Carolina - 74

Loyola Marymount - 69
Alaska Anchorage - 58

Anchorage, AK - Loyola Marymount knew when the match-ups for the 2006 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout that their first round match-up against host Alaska Anchorage was going to be a slugfest. It lived up to expectations as the Lions pulled away down the stretch thanks to suffocating defense in a 69-58 win on Wednesday night in Anchorage, AK.

Senior Matthew Knight was named the Carrs/Safeway Player of the Game as he led the Lions second half surge with 18 points and nine rebounds. Fellow senior Brandon Knight led all scorers with 20 points, going 10-for-10 from the free throw line with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. With the win, the Lions improve to 4-1 on the season and advance to the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout.

"Tonight was a hard fought win. We expected nothing less. When we saw who are first round match-up was going to be back in July, we knew we were going to be in a heavyweight battle," said Head Coach Rodney Tention. "We did a good job in taking care of the ball. But in the end it was our defense that gave us the win."

The Lions held Alaska to just 42 percent shooting, 38 percent in the second half as the Lions took a two-point halftime lead and turned it into a double digit win. The perimeter scorers of Alaska in Allen McFarland, Eric Draper and Buddy Bailey entered the game averaging a combined 45 points per game, hitting 30 three-pointers in four games. On Wednesday, the Lions held the trio 11 points, hitting 2-of-5 three pointers.

"Our focus tonight was on their perimeter game and we did a really good job in holding them down," said Tention. "It opened us up a little in the middle in the first half, but we adjusted and did a better job down low in the second half."

Carl Arts and McCade Olsen each had 11 points in the first half as Alaska led by as many as seven in the first frame, 31-24 with 4:43 remaining. However, the Lions began their defensive clamp down as the Seawolves went scoreless the rest of the half. The Lions defense led a 9-0 run as they took the halftime lead.

The first half run was led by the unlikely combo of freshman Mason Maynard and sophomore Corey Counts. Maynard scored seven points, all in the 9-0 run as Counts added a pair of assists. Maynard finished with a career best 12 minutes while Counts finished with five points and four assists in a career best 21 minutes.

"Mason and Corey came in a did what they have been doing all year in practice," said Tention. "They came in, played consistent basketball and gave us quality minutes."

The Seawolves would regain the lead at 42-38 when Olsen hit a jumper in the paint with 14:59 remaining. LMU went on another run, this one 8-0, as they took the lead for good. With the lead at four, 46-42, the Lions duo of Knight and Worthy took over.

Knight did it in the paint, with eight of his 18 in the final 11 minutes. Worthy did it at the line, hitting all 10 for his free throws in the final 13 minutes.

LMU will play the winner of UM-Kansas City and Pacific at 6:30 p.m. (PST). The game can be seen live on ESPNU or live on Lions' All-Access through KXLU 88.9 FM and LMULions.com.

BYU - 78
Portland - 50

PROVO, Utah - The BYU Cougars scored 48 second-half points and defeated the Portland Pilots by a 79-50 margin Wednesday night at the Marriott Center. Portland shot just 26 percent from the field in the loss.

Sophomore guard Lee Cummard led three Cougars in double figures with 14 points, while senior forward Keena Young and junior guard Sam Burgess added 13 each. No Pilot reached double digits as junior forward Sherrard Watson and sophomore forward Jamie Jones had eight points each. Senior Kevin Field grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds off the bench.

An experienced BYU team emerged from a 31-24 halftime led and used three consecutive three-pointers from Burgess to gain a 45-28 lead five minutes into the second half and never looked back.

The Cougars (2-1), a 21-win team last season, is a senior-laden squad that returned four starters from last year, and the experience showed on Wednesday.

The pesky Pilots (2-4) hung around in the first half despite falling behind 11-2 in the early going. Portland was within three points at 20-17 with 6:25 left in the half on a free throw by freshman forward Ethan Niedermeyer, who made the first start of his career. The Pilots held the Cougars to 36 percent shooting in the period, but shot just 30 percent on the offensive end.

Portland shot just 22 percent after intermission and had only four assists on the night, all courtesy of sophomore point guard Brian McTear. The Cougars shot 55 percent after the break to account for a Portland opponent season high of 48 points in one half.

"I think our tough shooting night affected other parts of our game," Portland head coach Eric Reveno said. "You have little margin for error when your shots aren't falling, and I think we let that carry over to the defensive end at times."

For the first time in five games, Portland was outrebounded by an opponent as BYU gained a 47-39 edge on the boards. The Cougars gained a 25-4 edge in second chance points off of 17 offensive rebounds. BYU also gained a 34-10 advantage in the paint and 21-6 margin off turnovers.

"Guys weren't trying to miss shots or taking bad shots," Reveno said, regarding his team's offensive woes. "That's just the way it goes sometimes. But we have to do a better job of maintaining our focus on the things we can control when that happens, like rebounding and defense."

The Pilots will return to Portland and look to regroup in time for a crosstown rivalry game with the Portland State Vikings on Monday at the Stott Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. All Pilot games are broadcast on KKAD 1550 and streamed live on portlandpilots.com.