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Loyola Finally Wins at Buzzer

January 08, 2006|Peter Yoon;Pete Thomas | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

This time, the shot went in as time expired and Loyola Marymount could celebrate.

After losing four of their last 11 games at the buzzer, the Lions got a game-winning jump shot by Chris Ayer and won their West Coast Conference opener, 86-84, over San Diego on Saturday at Loyola Marymount.

"We were due one," said Loyola Coach Rodney Tention. "We were absolutely due one."

The Lions (4-11) trailed, 80-67, with 4 minutes 25 seconds to play but switched to a full-court press and did not give up another basket. The Lion offense, meanwhile, made seven of eight shots, including the game-winner by Ayer.

Point guard Wes Wardrop took an inbound pass with 6.9 seconds left. He dribbled to the right side of the key, drew a double team and found Ayer standing alone just inside the free-throw line.

Ayer put up the shot, the buzzer sounded with the ball in the air, and the ball swooshed through the basket.

"It's a great win and we need it," Ayer said. "But more importantly, it's the start of conference. Everybody is starting out 0-0 and we needed a big win and we need to start rolling in conference to have a shot."

San Diego, which had won nine of its last 10 games, fell to 10-4.

Matthew Knight led the Lions with 22 points and nine rebounds. Wardrop had 19 points and six assists and Ayer had 17 points.

Nick Lewis of San Diego led all scorers with 28 points. Corey Belser had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Toreros.

*

-- Peter Yoon

San Francisco 71, Pepperdine 63 -- The Dons (5-9, 1-0) out-willed and ultimately out-hustled the Waves (4-9, 0-1) at Firestone Fieldhouse to pull away down the stretch to win.

San Francisco ended a four-game losing streak.

Pepperdine succumbed after poor perimeter shooting and poor execution in the final minutes.

"I don't know if it's youth or if we just can't shoot straight; we've got to start knocking those shots down," Coach Paul Westphal said.

"It's the same problem. In every game we've lost this season we shot very poorly."

Against the Dons' zone defense, the Waves shot 44.4% in the first half in opening a 31-27 lead. But in the second half, with the team seemingly relying too much on freshman guard Michael Gerrity, they shot only 28.6% and finished at 38.9%.

Gerrity was the game's top scorer with 19 points but made only eight of 20 shots. Freshman forward Willie Galic scored 11 points but seven were on free throws as he took only six shots from the field.

Alan Wiggins Jr. scored a team-high 18 points and was one of four Dons in double figures. They shot 46% from the field and outrebounded the Waves, 37-31.

Regardless, the Waves were in the game almost till the end. With the score tied, 54-54, they went on a 7-0 run, but the Dons responded with a 12-0 run to go ahead, 66-61.

The Waves tried to counter by launching three-point attempts, but they clanked off the iron -- they were only five of 19 from beyond the arc -- and the rally fizzled.

Said Westphal: "I guess we've just got to keep plugging away."

Pete Thomas

*

No. 8 Gonzaga 68, St. Mary's 60 -- Adam Morrison scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half at Moraga and the Bulldogs (11-3, 1-0) overcame a poor second half to avenge a road loss to the Gaels (7-6, 0-1) last season.

J.P. Batista had 12 points and seven rebounds and Derek Raivio scored five straight points late and 13 of his 16 -- including eight for eight on free throws -- in the final 5:17 for Gonzaga.

*

From the Associated Press

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