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Loyola Can't Repeat the Magic, 68-53

February 12, 1995|ROB FERNAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was no mystery to Loyola Marymount Coach John Olive why the Lions appeared fatigued Saturday night.

After going into double overtime to beat Portland on Friday, Loyola couldn't match that effort and lost to Gonzaga, 68-53, in a West Coast Conference game before 2,352 at Gersten Pavilion.

"There's no doubt that was the factor," said Olive, referring to the difficulty of playing on back-to-back nights. "You try to prepare for it. You discuss it. But it was obvious there was absolutely no energy in our performance."

Gonzaga, 15-7 overall and 4-6 in the WCC, took advantage of the listless Lions to win its fourth consecutive game and sweep Pepperdine and Loyola on the road for the first time since joining the conference in the 1979-80 season.

Loyola (11-11, 3-7) faded at the end of both halves. After trailing by 14 points early in the second half, the Lions rallied to within 48-43 on a jump shot in the key by reserve center Kenny Hotopp.

But Loyola turned the ball over on its next three possessions as Gonzaga went on a 12-0 run to take a 60-43 lead with 5:19 to play. Guard Kyle Dixon, who had game-high totals of 17 points, seven assists and four steals, sparked the Bulldogs with four points and two steals during the critical stretch.

"We couldn't maintain anything," Olive said. "I can't accept those mistakes (because of) fatigue. You've got to be able to concentrate. We made silly passes."

The end of the first half wasn't much better for Loyola. With the score tied, 19-19, Gonzaga went on a 10-0 run to take the lead for good and finished the half by outscoring the Lions, 18-5, over the last 7:12.

Center Ime Oduok was the only Loyola player to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. The Lions shot 39.3% and committed 20 turnovers.

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