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WCAC Roundup : Loyola Finds Touch, Beats San Diego, 139-104

February 05, 1989|ALAN DROOZ

Loyola Marymount rediscovered its shooting touch Saturday night and Hank Gathers decided to add passing to his repertoire in a 139-104 runaway over the University of San Diego before a sellout of 4,085 at Gersten Pavilion.

With the victory, Loyola pulled into a second-place tie with St. Mary's in the West Coast Athletic Conference, one game behind Pepperdine.

In its highest-scoring conference game of the season, Loyola took control in the early minutes. So for variety, Gathers--the nation's scoring and rebounding leader--went to work on his passing. He finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists.

"I could lead the nation in assists if I wanted to," Gathers said.

Many of Gathers' assists came on 3-pointers. Loyola (13-2 overall, 6-2 in the conference) made 14 of 25 3-point shots, outscoring the Toreros from 3-point range, 42-9. Jeff Fryer, Enoch Simmons and Bo Kimble made 4 each.

San Diego (6-14, 1-7) was outscored by only 20 points in its 7 previous WCAC games.

Reserve Craig Cottrell had 26 points and 8 rebounds, Wayman Strickland added 21 points and Gylan Dottin had 14 points for the Toreros.

Loyola took control after a 21-20 lead with a 42-9 run to take a 63-29 advantage with 5 minutes left in the first half.

Loyola got its 3-point shooting warmed up and made 7 of 15 on the way to a 73-48 halftime lead. Fryer and Simmons combined for five 3-pointers and each had 17 points in the first half.

The Lions made their first 14 free throws before missing one just before halftime. They made 19 of 26 free throws overall, to San Diego's 11 of 22.

Loyola maintained 30-point leads the rest of the game, reaching the 100-point mark with nearly 12 minutes left, 101-64. The lead increased to 117-77 with 8:25 left as Per Stumer made two consecutive 3-pointers.

Fryer finished with 29 points, Simmons 25 and Kimble 22 as the Lions shot 55% for the game. San Diego was also hurt by 25 turnovers.

"It's nice when we have it greased," Lion Coach Paul Westhead said of the team's accurate shooting. "At halftime I told the guys, 'Hank is giving up the ball.' That's a very bright sign. He has every reason to shoot. Every time he passes he can get an assist because he always has three people on him."

Westhead was also pleased to see a good offensive effort on the heels of Friday night's 116-104 loss to St. Mary's, a defeat he felt came because of his team's scoring shortcomings rather than St. Mary's defense.

"At the shootaround today we emphasized the break, no matter what," he said. "San Diego got 104. We can absorb (opponents') easy baskets. But we have to be up around 130."

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