LAS VEGAS--The beat goes on for Loyola Marymount.
It took the first overtime game in the West Coast Conference Tournament to get it done but Loyola Marymount held on for the 61-60 second round win over San Francisco.
The ninth-seeded Lions (10-22) move on to face fourth-seeded Santa Clara (21-10) on Friday. It was LMU’s second upset in as many days.
“Every time we play [USF] it’s kind of like Notre Dame and Louisville,” LMU head coach Max Good said. “Every time we play them it comes down to the last few seconds. All the credit to [my players]. They do all the work.”
Okonji cleaned up a rebound from Taylor Walker and it ended back up in the hands of Walker for the jumper to give LMU a 54-51 lead with 1:45 left.
USF (14-16) turned it over on its next possession and Walker was fouled, sending him to the line where he hit two. Cole Dickerson hit a three to cut the lead to two and it seemed all LMU had to do was run the clock out.
Dickerson finished with 23 points and 18 rebounds on the night.
Ireland tried to break out of the double team but turned the ball over with 18 seconds. Tim Derksen missed the fastbreak layup and Dickerson was there to get the tip-in to tie the game at 56.
Ireland missed a jumper with five seconds and that sent it to overtime.
As the game went into overtime, the Dons could not find the bottom of the basket. They scored only one point in overtime and Ireland took care of the rest.
The junior guard scored four points in the overtime.
“We had a lot of close games and I feel karma is on our side now,” Ireland said. “We’re in Vegas. we have a little bit of momentum. We’re playing for each other, we’re playing for the seniors.”
Ireland finished with 16 points.
The Lions are coming off a win in the first round against Portland and LMU showed the same energy early on against the Dons.
LMU came out early and took a 9-4 lead after a jumper by Alex Osborne.
USF had plenty of open looks from three but was unable to convert early. They started the game shooting 2-for-8 from the field with the only points coming from Mark Tollefsen, who finished with 12 points.
The Dons eventually found their rhythm and went on an 11-4 run to take a 15-13 lead. But the Lions offense continued to answer.
Godwin Okonji, Ireland, and Osborne hit jumpers and gave the Lions the lead again. The Lions also capitalized on their three offensive rebounds, scoring seven points.
Ashley Hamilton, who had scored 21 points against Portland on Wednesday, was limited to nine minutes in the first half with two fouls. Hamilton and Ireland combined for six points in the first half.
LMU and USF traded the lead five times in the half.
It is the first time since late December that LMU has won consecutive games.