LAS VEGAS--Loyola Marymount survives, again.
Brandon Clark’s free throw that would have tied the game rimmed out with 2.8 seconds left and LMU recovered the ball and held on for the 60-58 win over Santa Clara in the West Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
The Lions (11-22) became the first team in WCC history to win three games to reach the semifinals. They will meet No. 1 Gonzaga (29-2) on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Ireland was asked if he was tired and he responded with a resounding, “No.”
“I’m not going to be tired,” Ireland said. “I’ve been taking two ice baths a day just to be ready for the next challenge. If I keep doing that and stay positive, anything can happen.”
A layup from Taylor Walker and a jumper from Anthony Ireland gave LMU the 41-38 lead early in the second half but Santa Clara bounced back. The Broncos went on a 9-0 run, highlighted by a Brandon Clark jumper in transition, as they went up 47-41.
LMU countered with a three and layup from form Nick Stover to cut the lead to one.
Ashley Hamilton took over after that and scored six points, picked up a block and a rebound to give LMU a 55-53 lead.
“In the time out, he got his head back in the game and he was huge making huge important buckets,” Good said.
“We got sick of losing,” Hamilton said. “We’ve been working hard and there are so many close games and we really felt we just had to give it our all. Myself personally, I looked in the mirror, tried to make the change and try to come out a different player.”
Hamilton scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Ireland hit two free throws to extend the lead but Kevin Foster hit a three to cut the lead to one. Foster then hit two free throws with 26.8 seconds to put the Broncos up 58-57.
He finished with 23 points on 5-for-19 shooting.
Then with five seconds, Ireland drove the lane and hit a layup to give LMU the lead for good.
Ireland had a game-high 23 points and seven steals.
It was the third time Santa Clara (21-11) has lost to LMU when the Lions have been the lowest seed in the WCC Tournament and the first since 1997. The Broncos will play in the postseason but awaits where it will be placed.
“We just blew a great opportunity,” Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating said. “Give a lot of credit [LMU] for playing their third game in three days with a limited amount of bodies. It’s part of what happens in March when they play with a nothing to lose attitude. You almost have to have the same attitude and we didn’t.”
Fatigue set in early for LMU and Santa Clara took advantage, getting to loose balls and turning them into points. They had 10 second chance points while forcing seven LMU turnovers and took a 23-13 lead.
Both Yannick Atanga and Niyi Harrison got into early foul trouble but the Broncos were able to overcome that behind the hot shooting of Evan Roquemore and Kevin Foster, who scored 19 points in the first half.
It took a while but LMU was finally able to shake the cobwebs and made a run of its own.
After a Roquemore jumper gave Santa Clara a 28-18 lead, the Lions attacked the basket. Bruce English, who had not played in the first two games, came in and grabbed a critical offensive rebound and put it back in to kick start a 16-6 run for the Lions.
The run closed the half and was capped off by a drive, layup, and free throw from Ireland with 1.4 seconds left.
Ireland had 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the half.