Long Beach, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Anthony Ireland came up in the clutch as he sank a pair of free throws with only seconds remaining to lift the Loyola Marymount Lions to a 74-73 win over the Long Beach State 49ers in a non- conference thriller at Walter Pyramid.
Ireland finished with 14 points on 3-of-13 shooting from the floor, but knocked down 7-of-8 attempts at the charity stripe to keep LMU (3-0) undefeated on the early season. Evan Payne provided a huge spark for the Lions off the bench with 18 points in 23 minutes of action. Ben Dickinson posted 14 points and eight rebounds while Gabe Levin scored 12 points.
Mike Caffey paced the 49ers (1-2) with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Dan Jennings registered a double-double with 18 points and 11 boards while A.J. Spencer tallied 12 points in the setback.
LBSU played well on the offensive end to start the game as it made 50 percent of its field goal tries and 5-of-6 at the charity stripe in the first half. Although the Lions converted just 33.3 percent of their shots from the floor, they knocked down 13-of-17 free-throw attempts in the opening 20 minutes to send the contest in the intermission tied up at 35. Neither side led by more than a single possession for the final 16:22 of the opening period.
The 49ers took control in the second stanza and held a 69-62 lead with just over three minutes left in regulation. Ireland took over down the stretch as he tallied six points and two rebounds over the final 2:30, including the go- ahead makes at the charity stripe with only five seconds left. While Ireland made plays to help the Lions rally back, LBSU missed a pair of free-throw tries, committed three fouls and turned the ball over once to let the lead slip away. McKay LaSalle attempted a potentially game-winning shot from beyond the arc as time expired, but the 49ers suffered their second straight loss when it fell off the mark.
LMU dominated the glass as it finished with a 45-30 advantage in rebounds, which allowed it to produce 20 second chance points.