LOS ANGELES — The past two times the BYU Cougars visited Gersten Pavilion, they had to rally from double-digit deficits to beat Loyola Marymount.
Thursday night, BYU followed that same pattern of getting down big but this time the Cougars couldn’t complete the comeback as the Lions, who entered the night tied for last place in the West Coast Conference standings, recorded a surprising 76-69 victory.
LMU had three players score in double figures — James Batemon (28 points), Eli Scott (19) and Zafir Williams (12) and it forced BYU into 16 turnovers. The opportunistic Lions scored 24 points off those turnovers in just their second league win of the season.
The Cougars shot a miserable 5 of 23 from 3-point range and missed 12 in a row at one point.
LMU led by as many as 16 in the second half. Two years ago, BYU rallied from a 15-point deficit and last year the Cougars fell behind by 18 before earning a close win.
When the two teams played a few weeks ago in Provo, the Lions outscored the Cougars in the second half, 38-36, though BYU won, 82-67.
With the win, LMU snapped a 10-game losing streak against BYU. The Cougars’ last loss to the Lions was on Dec. 28, 2013.
BYU was led by Elijah Bryant (24 points) and Yoeli Childs (15 points). Childs also pulled down 13 rebounds.
Down by 16 points midway with 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Cougars battled back and, thanks to an 11-2 run, clawed their way to within five points, 62-57 with six minutes remaining.
BYU cut the deficit to five again, 67-62, at the 3:22 mark. But that was as close as the Cougars would get.
BYU fell to 18-6 overall and 7-4 in the WCC while LMU improved to 7-15 and 2-9.
The Lions built an early lead with a 12-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Batemon. Down 25-16, the Cougars responded with a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 25-22.
With 11:04 left in the half, Payton Dastrup came into game and in just three minutes, Dastrup recorded 2 points, a couple of rebounds and an assist. On one possession, Dastrup had three blocks.
Still, the Lions kept attacking BYU with an aggressive defense and by forcing turnovers.
LMU extended its advantage to as many as 12 as the Cougars struggled to contain Scott and Batemon.
A key moment was with 6:20 remaining in the half when Bryant slashed to the hoop for a layup and absorbed a hit to the face and went down hard to the floor, where he remained for several minutes. He was attended to by trainer Rob Ramos, returned to the bench and didn’t play the rest of the half.
BYU didn’t score a field goal over the final 4:30 of the first half. The Cougars shot 44 percent in the first half (including 3 of 13 from 3-point range) compared to 50 percent for LMU.
At halftime, the Lions led 42-31 as Batemon (16) and Scott (14) combined for 30 first-half points.
BYU had nine turnovers …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News