When you enter the tournament with only one conference win, your motivation could be called into question. If you roll over, no one will consider it anything more than a matter of course. But the Lions of Loyola Marymount wrote a different story, playing one of their best games of the season to beat the Portland Pilots, 65-54.
Fifth-year senior Ashley Hamilton led the way for the Lions, pouring in 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, adding 8 boards and a pair of steals. Anthony Ireland, the 5-10 guard from Connecticut, added 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
For the Lions, the win ends a 14-game losing streak (6 of which were by less than 5 points). But the season will have a different feel for the Lions, regardless of what happens Thursday night against San Francisco.
Portland was undone by 19 turnovers and a poor night behind the 3-point line (just 4-for-16). Despite the efforts of 6-5 sophomore Kevin Bailey (21 points, 5 rebounds), the Pilots couldn't produce enough offense to beat the Lions.