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Toreros hold off LMU Lions 75-71 for 13th win of season
Jan. 13, 2018


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SAN DIEGO -- The USD Toreros earned a hard-fought 75-71 victory over the Loyola Marymount Lions for their thirteenth victory of the season. Sophomore forward Juwan Gray scored a career-high 17 points and was followed by Isaiah Wright (16 points) and Isaiah Pineiro (15 points). San Diego survived a 30-point effort from LMU junior guard James Batemon.

"I'm happy that we won but we need to do a better job," said head coach Lamont Smith. "Juwan gave us a big lift and is playing at a high level right now. He is really helping this team by giving us a big spark off the bench. He is doing a lot of things defensively for us. Guarding the ball, guarding off the ball, so I couldn't be more happy with the way he is playing."

Gray came off the bench to score a career-high 17 points.

In the first half USD jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead behind two baskets from Isaiah Pineiro. Isaiah Wright answered LMU's James Batemon's two threes in giving USD a 10-6 lead. A Juwan Gray trey pushed USD's lead to 15-8 but Batemon answered with his third three and 11th point. Buckets from Floresca and Gray gave the Toreros a 19-11 advantage with 12:39 to go. A three from the top of the key by Alex Floresca gave USD a 24-15 lead. Juwan Gray would follow with his own trey and a baseline jumper, and Olin Carter three-ball would make it 32-15 with 5:36 left. LMU used a 7-0 run capped off by a three-pointer from Joe Quintana to pull within 32-22. A driving baseline lay-in from Gray ended the Lions' run at 1:43. A Gray dunk made it 36-27 but Zafir Williams beat the buzzer with a three for a 36-30 halftime score. Gray led the way with 11 points for USD while LMU was paced by Batemon (17).

After the break Eli Scott opened the scoring to pull the Lions within 36-32, but Pineiro answered with his own bucket. USD would hold leads of six points three different times with the last at 48-42 following two free throws from Tyler Williams. LMU's Scott would score three straight points to pull within 48-45 inside of 12 minutes to go. A basket and two free throws from Yauhen Massalski would get it back to seven at 54-47. Scott would add a three-point play and Batemon would add a three to get within 54-53, but Massalski would find Gray for a dunk and Pineiro would follow with a lay-in to make it 58-53 with 7:10 to go.

LMU's Steven Haney would bury a three from the left corner and Batemon would follow with a short jumper over Gray to pull the Lions within 63-61. Carter answered with a big three from the right corner to get the lead back to five at 66-61 at 3:24. Pineiro would follow with a short jumper off the glass to push it back to 68-61. LMU would score five straight capped off by a three from Mikail Simmons to make it 68-66 with 1:51 left. Carter answered with another big three ball, this time from the left corner to make it 71-66 with 52 seconds to go. A Mikail Simmons three with four seconds left made it 74-71 and Wright was immediately fouled on the inbounds pass and made the second of two free throws to ice the game.

For the game the Toreros shot 55.8% from the floor (29-52) and canned 8-of-21 three-pointers. Freshman forward Yauhen Massalski gave the Toreros a big lift late in the game as he scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in limited minutes. He was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Wright added six assists and five rebounds to his stat line. LMU (6-11, 1-5 WCC) made 11-of-21 three-pointers becoming the first team to make double-digit three-pointers.

The Toreros return to the JCP on Thursday, January 18th, when they host the Portland Pilots in a 7:00 p.m. contest.



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