Gonzaga Winning Streak Snapped By LMU
Feb. 8, 2003
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Loyola Marymount University withstood a furious second-half comeback in defeating Gonzaga University 80-74 Saturday night in a West Coast Conference men's basketball game, snapping the Bulldogs' winning streak at nine games.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs (17-6, 8-1) from the undefeated ranks in the WCC while the Lions (9-15, 3-6) snapped a 16-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. Gonzaga had also won 19 straight WCC regular-season games and 22 straight against WCC competition with the inclusion of last year's WCC Tournament games. LMU head coach Steve Aggers, formerly the head coach at Eastern Washington University, was also winless in 12 previous games he had coached against the Bulldogs - six each at EWU and LMU.
A turnover laden first half saw the Bulldogs trail by as many as 13 points before going to the intermission down 40-28 as Gonzaga was guilty of 14 first-half turnovers that led to 15 LMU points. For the game the Lions scored 22 points off 19 GU miscues.
Despite the 24 first-half turnovers combined by the teams, both squads shot the ball well. The Bulldogs were 11-for-22 from the field as Ronny Turiaf (7 points) and Richard Fox (6) scored nearly half of Gonzaga's points down low. That offset the perimeter struggles of the Bulldogs as the Bulldog long-range bombers went a combined 4-for-10 in the opening 20 minutes, including 3-for-7 from beyond the arc.
Gonzaga also couldn't solve the outside shooting of the Lions' Andy Osborn, who went 6-for-9 from the field including 4-for-5 from 3-point range for a game-high 17 points. The Lions went 9-for-15 from 3-point land in the game to the Bulldogs' 10-of-18.
The Bulldogs, who never trailed by more than 11 in the second half, went on a 7-0 run to knot the score at 55 with 9:57 to play, the closest the Bulldogs had been since the game was tied at 11. Bankhead drained a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, Cory Violette drove the lane for a 6-foot jumper and Josh Reisman drove the key for a layin.
The teams exchanged a pair of free throws and then Turiaf, who had all six of Gonzaga's blocked shots for the night, was called for goaltending on a Keith Kincade jumper that put LMU ahead 59-57. But Turiaf countered with a layin, Kincade hit a 3-pointer from the right corner and Winston Brooks, who had two treys in the game, launched one from the right side in front of the Bulldog bench to again draw Gonzaga even at 62 with 6:48 remaining.
Violette got a perfect pass from Stepp, one of his 9 assists in the game, for a layin following a pair of LMU free throws and the game was tied at 64. Stepp gave Gonzaga its first lead since 6-5 with a 3-pointer from the right side of the free throw line extended. After two more LMU charity tosses, Stepp drove the lane for a layin and then stepped behind the NBA circle for another three and the Bulldogs had a little breathing room at 72-66 lead with 3:50 to go.
But the Bulldogs, who hadn't made a second-half turnover to that point, made five down the stretch and the Lions went on a game-deciding 12-0 spurt for a 78-72 advantage with just 14 seconds remaining. Although the five turnovers led to just three LMU points, the miscues cost the Bulldogs an opportunity to run time off the clock and force the Lions to foul.
Brandon Worthy started the decisive LMU run with a rebound basket, his only field goal of the night to with a 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line. Sherman Gay, who finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds, got a rebound tip-in and then Osborn drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Lions the lead for good at 73-72 with 1:26 remaining.
Stepp turned the ball over on the next GU possession and was called for a foul, Worthy making both free throws for a 75-72 lead. Wes Wardrop made 1-of-2 from the line following another GU turnover and foul and Wardrop got a lead pass from Osborn following a rebound for an easy fast break layin and a 78-72 lead to end the 12-0 run.
Turiaf got a meaningless layin and Worthy made two more free throws as LMU capped the 14-2 run for the victory.
The Bulldogs were again without the services of guard Tony Skinner who also sat out Wednesday's win at Pepperdine University while nursing a sore left ankle re-injured last weekend against Santa Clara University.
Gonzaga returns home for four straight games to end the home portion of the season beginning with a Thursday invasion from Saint Mary's College and a Saturday visit from the University of San Francisco.
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