It was impossible to tell which team was trying to stay in the race for the West Coast Conference championship and which was hoping to move out of the conference cellar Friday night at Loyola Marymount.
Loyola, getting a late lift from Ime Oduok, hung on for a 97-94 double-overtime victory over Portland that ended a three-game losing streak and put a crimp in Portland's chances of winning its first WCC title.
"It looked like a classic to me," Loyola Coach John Olive said. "What an unbelievable game. I just told the kids, 'It was neat to be a part of that game.' We could have folded and everybody would have said it was a hell of an effort, but they weren't satisfied with that.
"Maybe it's a sign of maturity that it wasn't good enough to come close and lose. They just refused to lose this game."
Oduok, who left the game midway through the second overtime because of a severe cramp in his right thigh, returned to score the final five points, capping a game-ending 7-0 run by the Lions.
After making a free throw to bring Loyola within 94-93 with 58.7 seconds to play, Oduok blocked a shot, starting a fast break that he finished with a layup to put the Lions ahead, 95-94, with 23.6 seconds left.
Then, when Portland's Canaan Chatman missed a 15-foot jumper, Oduok was fouled as he grabbed the rebound with 5.6 seconds left.
His two free throws provided the final margin as Loyola, 11-10 overall and 3-6 in the WCC, won for only the second time in eight games.
"Chris Tucker made the play of the game," Olive said of the Lions' trainer. "He got him loose and back in the game and Ime made the big plays at the end."
Portland (15-6, 6-3) missed a three-point shot at the buzzer.