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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Nov. 24, 2007

Loyola Marymount - 97
Mercer - 92

Macon, GA - Using an all-around team effort, the Loyola Marymount men's basketball team hit a major growth spurt with a 97-92 overtime victory against Mercer in Macon, Ga., on Saturday afternoon. The win for the Lions over Mercer, who defeated ranked USC to start the year, snaps a five-game road skid and is the best offensive output since they had 101 on Jan. 29, 1999 in a win over Saint Mary's.

Trailing 91-90 with 30 seconds to play, junior Marko Deric hit a three-pointer on a great decision by redshirt freshman Brad Sweezy to put the Lions up 93-91. Deric then hit a pair of free throws to put LMU up 95-91 with 18 seconds remaining. Mercer's Mark Hall went just 1-for-2 at the free throw line on the next trip and sophomore Shawn Deadwiler put the game away with a pair of free throws with five seconds left.

"I have always told our team that if we run the offense and move the ball around and make the extra pass, we will get open looks," said Head Coach Rodney Tention. "We did a good job of that and we never reached a point of panic. On the big play, Brad could have forced a shot, but he made the extra pass to the open shooter. Marko was down and ready to shoot and drilled it in crunch time."

Deric was one of four players in double figures for the Lions with 14, going 5-for-10 from the field, including 2-for-3 from long range. The Lions were led by freshman Orlando Johnson with 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting while adding a team-high nine rebounds. Joining them in double figures was Jon Ziri and Quentin Turner with 15 points each. LMU improves to 2-4 on the season while Mercer, who was led by Hall's 30 points, falls to 1-4 after opening with that win over USC.

"We really grew up a lot today," said Tention. "We have gotten better each and every game we have played the last four games. Tonight we could have folded, but we didn't. It was a good team win tonight as everybody was involved. There aren't many teams who will travel across country and get a road win the way we did today. I am very proud of the way we played."

Eight different Lions had seven or more points, including nine by Brandon Walker, eight by Tim Diederichs and seven each from Shawn Deadwiler and Corey Counts. The Lions finished the game with a season-best 12 three-pointers, hitting 40 percent for the game. They also had a season low in turnovers with just 10.

LMU had their best first half of basketball this season as they jumped out to a lead as large as 16, 45-29 with 2:35 remaining on one of three Walker three-pointers. However, Mercer closed the half on a 12-2 run, eight of the 12 coming from the free throw line, to make it a six-point game at the break.

The Lions would take an 11-point lead on Deric's first three-pointer with 17:03 remaining, 56-45. However, Mercer fought back with a 15-0 run and took a four-point lead, 60-56, with 12:43 remaining. It would be a tight one the rest of the way as the teams would trade the lead seven times.

With the game tied at 73, Walker hit back-to-back three-pointers and the Lions took a six-point lead at 81-75 with 1:22 remaining. Mercer would close the game with the final six points, including a pair of free throws by Hall with 35 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

The teams would trade field goals and free throws as they each would lead before Calvin Henry's first free throw tied the game for the 14th time at 90-90 and then his second game the Bears a 91-90 lead to set-up the Lions final push to win it.

LMU, who finishes a four-game trip away from home, returns to Gersten Pavilion for homecoming week as they face San Diego State on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7:05 p.m. and then UC Santa Barbara for Homecoming on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:05 p.m. on CSTV. Both games can be heard live on KXLU 88.9 FM and online at LMULions.com.

Saint Mary's - 84
Nicholls State - 63

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) -- Diamon Simpson had 15 points, six rebounds and three steals and Saint Mary's followed a thrilling upset of Oregon with an 84-63 victory over Nicholls State on Saturday to stay unbeaten.

Patty Mills added 11 points and five assists one game after scoring a freshman school-record 37 points, again doing a fine job taking care of the ball in only his fifth college game. It's a matchup that featured five other players from Australia on the floor with him during some stretches.

Ian O'Leary scored 15 points as the Gaels used another balanced offensive attack to improve to 5-0, the school's best start since winning its first five games in the 1993-94 season. The Gaels stunned the 12th-ranked Ducks and former Saint Mary's coach Ernie Kent 99-87 on Tuesday night. Omar Samhan had six boards and three blocked shots for Saint Mary's.

Adonis Gray and Michael Czepil each scored 13 points to lead Nicholls State (1-5), which lost all three of their games during a swing through Northern California -- also playing at California and UC Davis this past week.

Saint Mary's is playing so well partly because of the way the Gaels share the ball, making the extra pass to create open shots and taking care of the ball. They did commit an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers after having only 12 total in the two previous games combined.

Mills did all the little things right, again exhibiting the poise beyond his first-year status. He hustled to save the ball from going out of bounds and generate another chance on offense, then drew a charge on the defensive end.

Mills, who helped Australia qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had five assists in the first 8 1/2 minutes of a game played in a much more subdued atmosphere at McKeon Pavilion, where most of the students who packed the gym for the sold-out Oregon game were still away from campus for Thanksgiving.

Mills is 25-for-26 at the free-throw line for the season.

The teams have a combined nine active Australian players, not to mention Saint Mary's redshirt Ben Allen. The common denominator is Saint Mary's assistant David Patrick, in his second season after a year at Nicholls State. Colonels coach J.P. Piper coached the Bermuda-born Patrick in his senior year of high school after he came to the United States following 10 years in Australia.

The Colonels cut the lead to 50-40 on a basket by Anatoly Bose with 12:25 remaining, but from there Saint Mary's quickly built its biggest lead of 22 points.

Nicholls State, from Thibodaux, La., fell way behind early and couldn't recover against the more athletic Gaels on the way to its fourth straight loss.

Saint Mary's made 10 of its first 16 shots, including 4-of-7 3s and two of those by O'Leary, on the way to a 38-25 lead at the break.

Portland - 76
Idaho State - 52

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Portland senior Sherrard Watson scored a game-high 18 points as the Pilots defeated the Idaho State Bengals 76-52 in a non-conference men's basketball game played at Gill Coliseum on Saturday night. UP sophomore Nik Raivio added 15 points on six-for-nine shooting.

Portland improves to 2-3 overall on the season, while Idaho State drops to 1-5.

Coming out of the locker room with an 11-point lead, UP opened the second half on an 18-8 run covering the first seven minutes. After junior Walter Thompson went to the hole for a reverse lay-up and freshman Luke Sikma drained a three-pointer, Portland opened up a 54-35 advantage.

Idaho State then trimmed the lead to 15 a couple of times before Portland opened it up from the outside, getting three-pointers from Raivio and fellow sophomore Robin Smeulders. Sikma then converted on a lay-up off a nice feed from Smeulders to give Portland a 66-46 advantage with less than seven minutes remaining on the clock.

The lead grew to 21 with less than three minutes to play after Smeulders converted a lay-in on a fast break and Watson buried a three-pointer from deep in the corner. UP then emptied its bench en route to the 24-point win.

Watson was a perfect eight of eight from the free throw line and shot four of six from the field. As a team Portland shot 44.4 percent (24-for-54) for the game and connected on 19 of 23 from the charity stripe.

Portland also nailed nine three-pointers, led by Raivio with four. Sikma just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine boards. Despite being in foul trouble for most of the game, Smeulders finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Pilots claimed a 45-26 edge in rebounds.

Chron Tatum was the only Bengal in double figures with 14 points. ISU shot 19-for-56 (33.9 percent) from the field and hit just three of 13 from behind the three-point arc.

Portland played without sophomore point guard Taishi Ito, who returned to his home in Japan on Friday. Ito's father passed away on Thanksgiving Day after a long battle with a brain tumor. There is no timetable set for his return to the team.

After falling behind 7-3 early, the Pilots went on a 17-7 run, capped by back-to-back buckets from freshman Jared Stohl. Stohl, who replaced Ito in the starting line-up, hit two mid-range jumpers to give Portland a 20-14 lead with 8:38 left in the first half.

Moments later, the Portland's lead to eight points, helped by a Thompson three-pointer and a couple of free throws from Smeulders. Thompson then drilled another three from the right wing, as Portland enjoyed a 34-25 lead with 1:30 remaining.

A lay-up by Watson then gave Portland its first double-digit lead, as the Pilots entered the locker room with a 36-25 advantage.

Portland was money from the free throw line in the first half, missing only one attempt out of 13 tries. Watson was a perfect six-for-six from the charity stripe in the first stanza and had a game-high 14 points.

The Pilots next play the Oregon State Beavers at 4:00 p.m. at Gill Coliseum on Sunday.

Gonzaga - 82
Virginia Tech - 64

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Abdullahi Kuso had 19 points and 10 rebounds and No. 14 Gonzaga defeated Virginia Tech 82-64 on Saturday night for third place in the Great Alaska Shootout.

Kuso was strong in the paint all night, scoring from underneath the basket and blocking three shots.

With Gonzaga (5-1) leading 41-33, Micah Downs, Matt Bouldin and Jeremy Pargo scored in a 7-0 run to extend the advantage to 15.

The Hokies (2-2) closed to 61-51 on consecutive 3-pointers by A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney with 10:13 remaining, but could get no closer.

Vassallo scored 20 points for the Hokies and Deron Washington had 11.

Bouldin scored 20 points and shot 6-for-8 from beyond the arc for Gonzaga. Pargo finished with 10 points and had 13 assists.

Oregon - 110
San Francisco - 79

EUGENE. Ore. (AP) -Maarty Leunen had 18 points and 10 rebounds, seven players scored in double digits and 12th-ranked Oregon beat San Francisco 110-79 on Saturday night.

Tajuan Porter added 17 points for Oregon (5-1), while Malik Hairston scored 16, Bryce Taylor had 15, Joevan Catron 14, LeKendric Longmire 11 and Kamyron Brown had 10 points. Catron also had 14 rebounds.

The Ducks' point total tied for the sixth highest in program history.

Manny Quezada scored a season-high 30 points, and Dior Lowhorn added 29 points for the Dons (2-3).

Quezada and Lowhorn scored 21 and 23, respectively, in the first half as San Francisco shot 58 percent but still trailed 62-50 at halftime.

The Ducks finished the half making 64 percent of their shots. They finished the game at 56 percent.

After Quezada scored the first two points of the second half, Oregon went off on a 12-2 run to make it 74-54 with 16:10 to play.

The Dons never could get closer than 18 points after that and ended up shooting 28 percent from the field in the second half.

USF kicks off a season-long four-game homestand when it welcomes Utah Valley State to the Hilltop for a 7:00 PM contest Wednesday, November 28 at War Memorial Gym.The Dons also take on Boise State (12/1), Pacific (12/5) and Weber State (12/8).

NOTES: It is the second career 30-point game for Quezada, who poured in a career-high 35 at Saint Mary's (2/19/07) last season... it is the second 30-point effort by a Don this season as Lowhorn notched a 30-point night against Sacramento State (11/17/07)... Lowhorn's 29 points marked the third straight contest he has scored at least 20 points... it was the first time USF has played Oregon since a 67-58 Oregon victory Dec. 12, 1959 in the Montana State Invitational.