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Waves Lose the Touch at Finish

West Coast: Allen beats overtime buzzer, pushes Loyola Marymount past Pepperdine, 81-79.


MALIBU — Pepperdine's comeback kids were at it again, only this time their heroics fell short.

The Waves wiped out deficits in the second half and overtime Wednesday night, but dramatic rallies couldn't keep Loyola Marymount from posting its first West Coast Conference victory.

Seconds after making the defensive play of the game, Loyola guard Willie Allen hit a running scoop shot in the lane with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to give the Lions an 81-79 upset before 1,422 at Firestone Fieldhouse.

After forcing a five-second violation against Jelani Gardner with five seconds left, Allen drove past Gardner, who slipped at the free-throw line, for the winning basket.

"[Pepperdine forward] Bryan Hill was coming, so I had to throw it up a little bit high," Allen said. "This time I wasn't going to have my shot get blocked."

Allen had a last-second shot blocked in Loyola's 67-65 loss to Portland on Jan. 10.

Gardner, who scored 20 points, said he was surprised when he was called for five seconds with the game tied, 79-79.

"I thought I backed up and got some space and got the count restarted," he said. "But [the official] kept counting."

Said Pepperdine Coach Lorenzo Romar: "We had a chance to win the game and gave it away.

"Our lack of intensity was the whole difference in the game. We've had this problem before. We have trouble coming out with fire in our eyes."

The letdown came after the Waves (10-7, 2-3 in the WCC) rallied from 11 points down in the second half Saturday to beat San Francisco.

"This is the way it's been all year for us," Gardner said. "We've been inconsistent. It just seems that we come out sluggish."

The Waves played their third consecutive game without center omm'A Givens, who was in uniform and on the bench after serving a two-game suspension for punching and breaking the jaw of teammate Aaron Butler in practice last week. Romar said Givens' playing status is day-to-day.

Loyola (5-12, 1-4) ended a 14-game road losing streak that started after it won at Pepperdine last season.

Behind Ben Ammerman, who scored 30 points, Loyola was ahead most of the game and led, 64-56, on Ammerman's three-point basket with 8:15 left in regulation.

But Loyola couldn't play with a lead, and Pepperdine could only play without one.

The Waves rallied and went ahead, 73-70, on Tommie Prince's three-point basket with 1:40 left.

Loyola's Tim Kennedy tied the score on a three-pointer with 34 seconds left. Pepperdine had a chance to win, but Gerald Brown missed a short bank shot.

Baskets by Ammerman and Allen helped the Lions open a 78-73 lead in overtime, but the Waves tied the score, 79-79, on two free throws by Prince with 1:10 left.

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