LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – BYU’s seven-game winning streak came to an end Thursday night with a 64-59 loss to Loyola Marymount.
The two teams traded buckets in a back-and-forth battle for much of the game before LMU rode four-consecutive field goal makes to take a 60-52 lead with just under six minutes to play.
“We were just so limited with our movement on offense, we allowed ourselves to get stuck. We didn’t beat their physicality with our pace and movement,” head coach Mark Pope said. “That was problematic. They got us in isolation a few times and that hurt us. I like my guys and they played hard.”
Fousseyni Traore and Gideon George each scored 13 points to lead BYU, but the Cougars shot just 41 percent from the field and scored just two points over the last three and a half minutes of the game.
Despite the game-high deficit, BYU fought back to a one-possession game with a free-throw make from Noah Waterman and consecutive scores in the paint by Dallin Hall and Fousseyni Traore. With a 5-0 run, BYU had pulled within three at 60-57 with under four minutes to go.
The Lions responded and went up 62-57 with a key offensive rebound and putback score by forward Keli Leaupepe. While Gideon George would spin into the paint and score in the waning moments of the game, back-to-back, turnover-laden empty-possessions proved costly as the Cougars were unable to make the plays to come back at the end.
BYU outshot LMU 45-35 percent in the first half while forcing seven Lion turnovers to just five of its own. The Cougars also outscored LMU 24-10 in the paint during the opening 20 minutes. Free-throws proved the difference-maker with the Lions going 11-of-12 from the line to open the game and 15-of-23 overall. In contrast, BYU got to the free-throw line just nine times, making five. While the Cougars held LMU to 7-of-25 from 3-point range, it was enough to out-do BYU’s 2-of-13.
Dallih Hall also scored in double-figures with 10 points and four assists.
Traore made an impact early-on as he found George open for a cutting lay-in and Waterman available beyond the arc for a 3-point make. The sophomore forward added a bucket himself with a floater to put the Cougars up 11-9 in the opening minutes of play.
LMU would lead by as many as five at 22-17 in the first half before Hall took the lid off the bucket for BYU with a jump hook. Spencer Johnson then weaved through the defense and found Traore in the paint for an easy lay-in that tied the game at 22.
George, Johnson and Jaxson Robinson would each make key buckets over the final minutes of the half but a series of successful LMU free-throw attempts kept the game close and eventually knotted at 33 at the half.
BYU came out of the locker room with Traore blocking a shot and scoring on the other end. A Robinson 3-pointer and alley-oop lob to Atiki Ally Atiki helped the Cougars lead by as many as three before LMU reasserted itself on the way to the game-breaking eight-point lead.
BYU continues its two-game road trip with a matchup at San Diego on Saturday at 5 p.m. PST.