Loyola Marymount Picks Up First Conference Win


If you’ve been following Loyola Marymount this season and have been consistently reading their previews, recaps, and feature stories, you know that their performances in conference play have been one giant broken record. It’s seemingly been one bad loss after the other.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, consider that record fixed.

The Loyola Marymount Lions picked up their first conference win on Thursday by defeating the Portland Pilots by a final score of 80-68.

They made their baskets, they played solid defense, they got contributions from everyone who saw the floor, and they were rewarded with their first victory in the West Coast Conference.

Nov 15, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Loyola Marymount Lions forward Marin Mornar (42) attempts a shot defended by Boise State Broncos forward David Wacker (33) during the second half at Albert Gersten Pavilion. The Boise State Broncos defeated the Loyola Marymount Lions 77-69. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Marin Mornar continued his stellar play from the Lions’ previous game against BYU, notching a double-double with 21 points and ten rebounds. Ayodeji Egbeyemi wasn’t too far behind him, with 22 points to compliment his eight rebounds on the night.

The contributions from the remainder of LMU’s lineup was a huge improvement as well, as virtually every player who saw the court chipped in to help the team’s resilient efforts.

Matt Hayes continued his impressive play into tonight’s game, adding nine points in a mere 14 minutes on the court. David Humphries scored eight points, dished out four assists, and grabbed seven rebounds on the night.

Chase Flint and Evan Payne, who’s normally the Lions’ knight in shining armor, added seven points each. Payne, who sat out of the BYU game as a result of violating team policy, did not start for the Lions and saw his minutes take quite a dip against Portland.

The Pilots were led by guard Alec Wintering, who had 17 points and seven assists. Forwards Gabe Taylor and Volodymyr Gerun scored 12 points each, while D’Marques Tyson added 11.

The key for Loyola Marymount in this game (other than getting bountiful contributions from every player), was their handling of Portland’s star senior center, Thomas van der Mars. After leading his team in almost every game this year, the Lions held van der Mars to only one point throughout the entire game – he went 0-3 from the field.

Not even the Zags were able to put a stop to van der Mars’ brutal efforts. The Lions did a wonderful job shutting down the Pilots’ best player and taking advantage of his struggles.

Even more, LMU shot 51 percent from the floor and went 8 of 12 on three pointers. When the Pilots would start to close the gap, the Lions would find a way to get back into it and went on numerous scoring runs to take a larger lead.

More from West Coast Convo

Seeing such a hard-fought, gritty performance by his team must bring tears of joy to Mike Dunlap’s eyes. Loyola Marymount played smart, effective basketball. And most importantly: they played as a team. They shared the ball, they shot the ball well, they played great defense, and they showed hustle and resolve. There’s not much more you can ask for than that.

Mike Dunlap is already starting to bring out the best of this squad during their rebuilding year. And boy, are they going to need his guidance for this Saturday, as they host the #3 Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are coming fresh off a nail-biting victory over Pepperdine in Malibu.

This is easily LMU’s toughest challenge of the year, but I think it’s fair to say that they’re starting to get things together at the right time. If they can continue these impressive efforts heading into Saturday’s game, be ready – it could be a fun matchup against the mighty Bulldogs.