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Loyola Wins 19th Straight, WCAC Title

February 21, 1988|ALAN DROOZ | Times Staff Writer

There will be new nets in Gersten Pavilion when Loyola Marymount resumes practice Monday.

Loyola cut down the strings for the first time in 27 years Saturday night in a record-shattering 142-127 performance against Pepperdine that gave the Lions the West Coast Athletic Conference title.

In winning their 19th straight game before a Gersten Pavilion-record crowd of 4,525, the Lions scored the most points ever against the Waves (by 17), the most ever in a WCAC game, had a school-record 82-point second half and combined with the Waves to shatter their month-old mark for combined points (240 with Portland). Loyola made 8 of 10 three-point shots in the second half.

The Lions also completed their first-ever undefeated home schedule, going 14-0. The Lions are 22-3 overall and 12-0 in the WCAC.

Pepperdine lost its second game in four days to the Lions to fall into a three-way tie for second with St. Mary's and Santa Clara at 8-4. The Waves are 16-9 overall.

Saturday's wild made Wednesday's 107-95 contest look like a warmup. Pepperdine matched Loyola shot for shot in the first half and was holding its own well into the second half.

After five ties in the period, Loyola was leading, 88-86, when Pepperdine's Dexter Howard was called for charging, and several scuffles broke out on the floor.

When play resumed, Pepperdine tied the score, 90-90, but Loyola then pulled away. Bo Kimble and Enoch Simmons hit back-to-back three-point shots as the Lions built a 103-96 lead.

Pepperdine pulled to within three, 107-104, but Loyola unleashed a barrage of three-point shots, including three by Jeff Fryer and another by Kimble.

Pepperdine managed one last run, but a technical was called on Howard for protesting a foul, and moments later Wave Coach Jim Harrick drew a double technical. Loyola made the free throws.

Kimble, who shot 14 for 25, finished with a career-high 36 points, giving him 68 in the two-game series. Hank Gathers scored 32, mostly in the first half, and Mike Yoest added 25 points for the Lions. Fryer added 17.

Their scoring offset a 40-point, 25-rebound effort by Pepperdine's Levy Middlebrooks, the 250-pound heavyweight who was ready to square off with anyone in his path. Craig Davis had a career-high 27 points. Tom Lewis, who had 19 first-half points, finished with 25.

"At 65-60, we knew it was our pace," Loyola Coach Paul Westhead said. "That was a normal pace for us. What made it record-breaking was Pepperdine was playing so darn well."

Harrick said he felt good with a halftime lead of 65-60. "They didn't wear us down. They beat us down the stretch," he said. "They hit some long shots. Kimble hit two NBA three-pointers.

"They haven't lost with Bo Kimble, and I don't think they would've lost any (Kimble missed the first six games with an injury). Kimble may be the best player in the country. We've faced Danny Manning. Nobody has ever done to us what Bo Kimble did."

The first half belonged to the Waves, who controlled the boards and ran with the Lions.

Middlebrooks gave the Waves a quick 16-9 lead, scoring 10 of his 14 first-half points in that span.

Gathers and Kimble led a Loyola comeback that saw the Lions pull ahead, 31-24. Gathers hit 10 of 13 shots in the half on the way to 26 points. Kimble came out bombing, hitting two three-pointers, then he started working inside, scoring 17 points in the half.

Loyola shot 55% from the floor and hit 12 of 20 three-point shots. Pepperdine controlled the boards, 55-32, and shot 60%, but had 24 turnovers to Loyola's 11 and hit only 4 three-point shots.

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