Lions Win Thriller in San Francisco


Since being sidelined against BYU for violation of team policy, Evan Payne hadn’t quite been himself. He began to see his averages take a dip and was no longer a starter for the Lions. Though he was still contributing, it felt like that “superstar” mentality had been missing from his game.

But oh my gosh, is it back now.

Evan Payne got a tip-in buzzer beater to give the Loyola Marymount Lions a 70-69 victory over the San Francisco Dons. This was, without a doubt, the most thrilling and impressive game from LMU so far this season.

Jan 17, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Loyola Marymount Lions guard Ayodeji Egbeyemi (24) goes up for a shot against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second half at Albert Gersten Pavilion. The Gonzaga Bulldogs won 72-55. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

First off, and most importantly, the Lions got contributions from a vast majority of their lineup, rather than just from two or three players. Ayodeji Egbeyemi led the way in this matchup, scoring 19 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. Payne and David Humphries added 13 each, while Godwin Okonji and Marin Mornar each added nine.

The Lions also did a beautiful job of sharing the wealth, led by guard Chase Flint, who dished out nine assists.

What was most impressive, though, was the relentless come-from-behind effort from LMU. In the second half, the Lions trailed by a score of 47-30, getting outmuscled and outworked by the Dons in almost every aspect of the game.

Now, if you’ve watched Loyola Marymount’s conference games so far this season, you were probably shrugging your shoulders again and thinking, “Where have I seen this before?” And it was frustrating to watch. But kudos to those of you who stuck around and believed in this team, because you were treated to quite a spectacular sighting.

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The Lions never gave up, never stopped trying, and never stopped believing in themselves. They showed that they have the charisma to keep going when things seem bleak. And they made quite a statement in the WCC with this significant victory in San Francisco. The amount of improvement that this team has shown recently is proof of Mike Dunlap’s system becoming increasingly more familiar and comfortable.

Evan Payne was back to his dominant self. The rest of the squad did an outstanding job of getting the ball through the hoop and hustling on the defensive end, and the result was one of the most thrilling games in conference play this year. This was a game that the Lions deserved to win, and you can bet that they’ll be carrying this energy and momentum into next Thursday’s game, as they prepare to take on the Saint Mary’s Gaels.