Jan. 9, 2014
(San Diego, Calif.) - The USD Toreros, on the strength of a very solid second half, earned a 74-67 victory over the Loyola Marymount Lions before 2,605 fans on Military Appreciation Night. The win snapped a three-game skid and improved USD's overall record to 10-7 and 1-3 in league. Sophomore guard Duda Sanadze (22 points) and Christopher Anderson (20 points) led the way as the Toreros rallied from a 28-25 intermission deficit. Senior forward Dennis Kramer also reached double-digit scoring with 14 points.
"Duda (Sanadze) did some really good things for us tonight and played with a lot of toughness and grit," said head coach Bill Grier. "I was pleased with how he fought tonight. And Christopher's play lifted our team up tonight the way he battled. I told him after the BYU game to keep shooting, and to his credit, he stepped up and made some big shots for us. I was pleased with our team's fight tonight, especially on the defensive end and glass. That showed a lot of character and resiliency on our part. The defense kept us in the game and our offense finally came around."
Following a first half that saw the Toreros struggle to 38.5% shooting, the Toreros came out over the final 20 minutes to convert 14-of-28 (50%). USD also finished with a 37-23 rebounding edge, and also finished with a very solid 79.3% from the free throw line (23-29). USD's leading scorer, Johnny Dee, was limited to just 3 minutes of action in the second half and 20 for the game as he was battling an illness that came on in the late afternoon - he finished with 3 points on just 4 attempts. USD also got a lift from Simi Fajemisin who chipped in with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
An Anderson lay-up with 16:02 to go in the game gave USD a 34-33 lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Despite USD never losing the lead in the second half, LMU continued to battle and stay close, pulling to within 52-51 on an Evan Payne three-pointer with 6:54 to go.
An old-fashioned three-point play and lay-in by Sanadze gave USD a 57-51 lead with 6:16 left. LMU (10-7, 2-3 WCC) would get within 57-54 on an Anthony Ireland basket, but from there the closest they would get is five points. USD extended their advantage to 11 points twice, the last coming at 70-59 with 34 ticks left before settling for the final 74-67 margin.
LMU was paced by their backcourt tandem of Ireland (18 points) and Payne (17 points). USD returns to the JCP for a 6:00 p.m. contest this Saturday against Pepperdine; LMU heads to Provo to face the BYU Cougars.