Loyola Marymount University’s men's basketball team got the better half (literally) of Santa Clara, 69-61 on Jan. 26, to salvage a split of their two-game road trip last week.

The Lions (15-6 overall, 3-4 West Coast Conference) came roaring back from a 14-point first half deficit, powered by a 15-0 run that erased a 38-29 Broncos lead. LMU shot 59 percent (13-for-22) in the second half, compared to 27 percent (7-for-26) for Santa Clara.

James Batemon led LMU with 20 points, and Dameane Douglas had 16 along with 10 rebounds, four steals and six assists. Mattias Markusson scored 13.

The Lions’ big second half contrasted sharply with two nights earlier, when San Diego turned a one-point halftime lead into a 71-58 win, paced by nine three-point baskets. The Lions were still within four with 1:20 left, but came no closer.

Batemon scored 17 points, and Eli Scott and Markusson each added 13, but the rest of the Lions combined for just seven baskets.

The Lions return home Jan. 31 to play Pacific at 7 p.m., followed by a trip to Utah to play BYU on Feb. 2.

WCC standings (through Jan. 29): Gonzaga 6-0; BYU and San Francisco 5-2; San Diego and St. Mary’s 4-3; LMU and Pepperdine 3-4; Santa Clara 3-5; Pacific 2-5; Portland 0-7.

Women’s basketball

Like the men, the LMU women's basketball team (11-10, 4-5 WCC) halved its road trip last week, beating Pacific 72-67 on Jan. 24 in Stockton, then falling 86-62 to St. Mary’s on Jan. 26 in Moraga.

Against Pacific, the Lions opened a 52-39 lead after three quarters before the Tigers made it closer. Chelsey Gibson scored 28 points, Jasmine Jones had 17, Bree Alford pulled down 20 rebounds, and Andee Velasco had eight points and eight rebounds.

“A tremendous team win today in a very challenging environment," said coach Charity Elliott. "We played the epitome of team basketball at both ends of the floor.”

Two days later, however, LMU led just once early in the game as St. Mary’s exploded in the second quarter to lead by 25 at halftime. Velasco had a season-high 15 points, Alford (14 (and 14 rebounds) and Jones 14, but LMU shot just 32 percent for the game, compared to St. Mary’s 54 percent.

The Lions next play Jan. 31, hosting BYU at 5 p.m. (prior to the men’s game against Pacific) and host San Diego Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.

WCC standings (through Jan. 29): BYU 9-0; Gonzaga 8-1; St. Mary’s and Pacific 6-3; Pepperdine 5-4; LMU 4-5; Santa Clara 3-6; Portland 2-7; San Francisco and San Diego 1-8.

Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

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