The Loyola Marymount Lions fell to the Gonzaga Bulldogs tonight at the McCarthey Athletic Center 73-55. The Lions came into the game with a 13-4 record after starting the season with eight straight wins, but they had already dropped two of their three WCC contests and were unlikely to give the #5 ranked Zags a real challenge. What did challenge Gonzaga tonight was sloppy play as the Zags committed 16 turnovers. The sloppy play was prevalent on both sides of the court the Lions committed 17 turnovers against only 9 assists.
The Zags were led by Zach Norvell with 17 points, with four Zags scoring in double figures. Rui Hachimura led the Zags with 7 rebounds and Corey Kispert had a solid, balanced game with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block. LMU was led by James Batemon with 12 points, six points under his season average, with no other Lion scoring in double figures.
Like the Pacific Tigers, the Lions successfully limited the games overall offensive possessions by taking the shot clock under 10 seconds almost every time down the court. The strategy worked well for the first 12 minutes of the game as the Zags held a 21-18 lead with 7:50 left on the clock. The Zags then went on a 15-4 run to end the half to go into the locker room up 36-22 at the break. The start of the second half was more of the same as the Zags outscored LMU 19-4 in the first 8 minutes, but then GU seemed to lose interest. LMU scored 29 points in the last 11 minutes forcing Coach Few to reinsert the starters at about the 8-minute mark and limiting the playing time for GU’s second team.
Probably the most notable parts of tonight’s game were Kispert having his best outing in several games, Zach Norvell going on a three-minute scoring binge, Brandon Clarke adding great assists to his offensive repertoire, and Killian Tillie continuing to show he’ll possibly be the team’s best player in about two more weeks.
The Zags travel to Portland on Saturday to take on the 7-11 Pilots who are 0-3 in conference play.