Los Angeles, Calif. – Down 11 with at 6:02 in the second half, Santa Clara battled back within two points four times in the final two minutes, including 65-63 Lions with 3.1 seconds left, but the Lions hit their free throws down the stretch to take a 68-65 win on their senior night.
Santa Clara played its second straight game without starting forward John McArthur who suffered a concussion early in the second half vs. BYU on Feb. 18. McArthur had started 25 of 26 games this season. He is listed as day to day.
Santa Clara will play Portland in Las Vegas on Wed., Feb. 29 in the WCC Tournament. If the Broncos win, they will play San Francisco in the first round on Thurs., March 1 at 6 pm in Las Vegas. All games are being played at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Santa Clara (8-21, 0-16 WCC) shot 34.9 percent from the field (22 of 63), including 40.0 percent beyond the arc (8 of 20). They collected 42 rebounds, nine assists, five steals and four blocks. The Broncos shot 56.5 percent from the charity stripe (13 of 23) and turned the ball over 12 times. The Broncos are the first team since the 2001 Saint Mary's team to not win a regular season WCC game (SMC went 0-14).
Individually for the Broncos Raymond Cowels III scored 22, hitting four of seven from beyond the arc. It is a season high for Cowels III, who scored 21 at USF on Feb. 9, 2012. Denzel Johnson added 12. Niyi Harrison collected 11 rebounds and nine points. Yannick Atanga collected 10 rebounds and four points. Evan Roquemore had 11 points, five assists and four turnovers.
LMU (19-11, 11-5 WCC) shot 33.3 percent from the field (17 of 51), including 25.0 percent beyond the arc (3 of 12). They collected 42 rebounds, eight assists, eight steals and four blocks. The Lions shot 88.6 percent from the charity stripe (31 of 35) and turned the ball over 10 times.
Three Lions scored in double figures with Anthony Ireland scoring 17, Jarred DuBois 13 and Drew Viney 14. Viney led the team with nine rebounds and Ashley Hamilton added seven rebounds.
The Broncos started the game on a 5-2 run in the first minute on a bucket by Atanga and a three by Roquemore. The Lions scored three straight baskets to take an 8-5 lead at 15:59. Johnson stopped the run with a three from the corner at 15:23 to tie it up 8-8.
Viney's three put LMU back up and then Ireland scored his sixth point at 14:11 to put LMU up 13-8 at 14:11. B. Clark's three at 12:19 and then Harrison's reverse lay-up tied it up 13-13 at 11:41.
Cowels III three, the Broncos fourth of the game, gave SCU a 16-13 lead at 10:19. The Lions scored back-to-back baskets to go back up one at 9:32, but Johnson's free throw at 9:20 tied up again.
Harrison's bucket inside made it 19-17 at 7:06. After a Lions basket, Roquemore was fouled under the basket on offense and he made both to make it 21-19 Broncos at 6:30. Johnson clipped Armstead on the arm and he sank both at the charity stripe at 6:18.
Cowels III sank his second three at 5:40 and Armstead followed with another pair of free throws at 5:28. Roquemore's floater hit pay dirt at 5:13.
After a Lions free throw, Cowels II scored a floater at 4:15, 28-24 Broncos. DuBois' free throws at 2:08 gave the Lions a 29-28 lead at 2:08.
In the first half Santa Clara shot 27.0 percent from the field (10 of 37), including 41.7 percent beyond the arc (5 of 12). They collected 24 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. The Broncos shot 60.0 percent from the charity stripe (3 of 5) and turned the ball over four times. Individually Cowels III led the Broncos with eights points and Atanga collected seven rebounds.
In the first half LMU shot 34.5 percent from the field (10 of 29), including 22.2 percent beyond the arc (2 of 9). They collected 24 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. The Lions shot 87.5 percent from the charity stripe (7 of 8) and turned the ball over six times. Individually Ireland had eight points and three Lions had four rebounds each.
The Lions started the second half on a 6-1 run, taking a 35-29 lead at 16:33. Cowels III hit his third three at 16:15 and then a six-footer at 15:40. Viney answered with a three and then a floater before Cowels III hit a three at 14:39.
Harrison literally flew in and dunked it at 13:04. LMU scored six straight to take a 48-39 lead at 11:27. Atanga hit two free throws to make it 48-41 Lions at 11:02.
Viney picked up his fourth foul on Harrison and as he hit the Lions bench, Harrison sank one, 48-42 at 9:49. Hamilton hit a pair of fee throws at 9:45 and Cowels III and Johnson added one each in the next three minutes.
The Lions made their lead 10 with a pair of free throws at 6:29. Godwin Okonji fouled out at 5:32 and Roquemore hit sank one free throw.
Cowels III scored his 20th point of the game at 4:52, 58-50 Lions. Johnson crushed a three from the corner at 4:14. Cowels III eight foot floater made it 60-55 Lions at 3:32, giving him season-high 22 points.
B. Clark scored on a finger roll at 2:45. Harrison was fouled grabbing the defensive rebound and he sank both, 61-59 Lions at 2:15.
Johnson scored inside with 29.8 seconds on the clock to pull the Broncos within two again, 63-61.
Hamilton sank two free throws. Roquemore dunked it with 17.1 seconds left and he was fouled by DuBois, his fourth, but Roquemore missed the free throw. Viney sank a pair of free throws with 14.6 seconds left to make it 67-63.
B. Clark went inside with 3.1 seconds left to pull the Broncos within two again, 67-65. Hamilton was fouled with 1.2 seconds left and he missed the first and sank the second, 68-65 Lions.