After a 1-2 post-finals week, Loyola Marymount University’s men’s basketball team (5-7) plays twice this week at Gersten Pavilion before opening the West Coast Conference season Jan. 2.

A recap of recent games: 

Dec. 13: 79-76 vs. Prairie View A&M: The Lions built a 16-point lead early in the second half at home, then had to withstand several rallies, clinching the win on Ivan Alipiev’s free throws with seven seconds remaining. Alipiev and Eli Scott each scored 17, Erik Johansson had 14 and Jordan Bell 10, while Bell had 10 rebounds and Scott nine. LMU shot 76 percent from the foul line.

Dec. 16: 65-67 at UC Davis: The Lions held a 14-point halftime lead, an 18-point bulge in the second half and an 11-point lead with 6:57 to play before succumbing to the Aggies’ late 3-point basket assault. Johansson (18 points) scored with three seconds to play for a 65-64 lead, but Davis’ Joe Mooney hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for the win. Scott had 13 points and seven assists, Alipiev had 11 points and seven rebounds, and LMU shot 57 percent in a losing cause. 

Dec. 19: 66-76 vs. Portland State: With Portland shooting 69 percent in the first half, LMU fell behind by 22 and couldn’t come back despite an improved second half performance at Gersten Pavilion. Scott’s 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists led the Lions, who converted just one three-pointer on the night.

Upcoming: A three-game homestand starts Dec. 22 against Cal State Fullerton and continues Dec. 28 against Morgan State. LMU’s WCC season begins Jan. 2 at home against the University of San Diego, followed by games at BYU Jan. 4 and at home Jan. 11 against nationally-ranked Gonzaga.

Women’s Basketball

Playing three closely-fought contests, LMU women’s basketball team went 1-2 at the Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque Dec. 18-20. A recap: 

Dec. 18: 72-77 vs. Ball State: The Lions bolted to a 42-24 halftime lead, but the Cardinals went on runs of 15-2 and 6-0 to take the lead for good in the fourth quarter. For LMU, Chelsey Gipson and Aspyn Adams each scored 15 points and Ciera Ellingtom 10, Jasmine Jones had nine rebounds and Naomi Kim had six assists.

Dec. 19: 73-72 vs. New Mexico State: This time it was LMU who battled back from a first-half deficit (48-36), pulling to within one after three quarters and winning on Gipson’s layup with 16 seconds remaining. Jones scored 21 points with 11 rebounds and six assists, all team highs, while Ellington scored 12 and Gipson and Meghan Mandel each scored 10.

Dec. 20: 45-48 vs. Providence: An old-time defensive battle (LMU shot 30 percent, Providence 25 percent) was close throughout. Ellington’s 11 points and Raychel Stanley’s 10 topped the Lions, as did Jones’ 12 rebounds. Stanley’s layup with 1:12 left gave a 45-44 lead it couldn’t hold, and Adams’ three-point try at the buzzer was unsuccessful.

Upcoming: LMU (4-9) opens its West Coast Conference season Dec. 29 and 30 at home against BYU and San Diego.