SAN FRANCISCO — The University of San Francisco basketball team should have been tired Saturday night, especially after chasing Loyola Marymount up and down the court Friday night. But the Dons were fresh enough to give Pepperdine a good run before losing, 94-91, in a rough game before 3,385 fans at USF's Memorial Gymnasium.
The Waves raised their overall record to 14-7 and are 6-2 in the West Coast Athletic Conference. USF lost its fifth straight game and fell to 11-10 and 3-5.
Against Loyola, the Dons had scored 111 points but lost.
But except for letting the Waves take a 9-0 lead, the Dons had enough energy left to stay all the way with Pepperdine.
Talk about close games. This one had 21 lead changes and 11 ties.
But with the Waves trailing, 79-78, with 5:56 to play, USF's Patrick Clardy got tangled up with Pepperdine's Tom Lewis after Lewis crashed to the floor while battling for a rebound.
While Lewis was prone, Clardy's legs became entangled around Lewis' body. And while trying to free his legs, Clardy appeared to kick Lewis in the chest.
A technical was called on Clardy, and he was ejected from the game. Lewis made both ends of a one-and-one, and, after Pepperdine got possession of the ball after the technical, the Wave sophomore came back to hit two more free throws on another one-and-one.
Pepperdine grabbed an 85-79 lead after Lewis' four foul shots, but there were still more than 5 minutes remaining.
With 13 seconds to play and Pepperdine ahead, 92-91, it came down to what Lewis would do with another one-and-one. He hit both of them and finished with a game-high 29 points.
USF had a chance to tie it, but a desperation three-point attempt by Mark McCathrion bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Clardy said he thought a foul should have been called on Lewis for grabbing his legs and holding on.
"Tom Lewis is the dirtiest player in the league," Clardy said. He added that officials hesitate to call fouls on Lewis because "I guess (he is) a superstar."
When Lewis was asked to respond to Clardy's comments about being "the dirtiest player," Lewis said, "Is that a compliment?"
McCathrion led the Dons with 22 points, and teammate Keith Jackson had 19. Pepperdine's Levy Middlebrooks had 24 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Craig Davis scored 18 points for the Waves, including four three-point baskets in the second half.