Las Vegas, Nev. - Keeping their unprobable run alive with their third win in three days, No. 9 seed LMU defeated No. 4 seed Santa Clara 60-58 on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament. Santa Clara is 21-11 and LMU is 11-22. LMU advances to play No. 1 Gonzaga at 6 pm Saturday on ESPN2. It will be the Zags first game since taking over the No. 1 spot nationally on March 4.
"I am sorry we didn't take advantage of this opportunity tonight," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "We applaud LMU's efforts. A lot goes to Kevin and Marc for having all-conference seasons this year, but a lot should go to Niyi, Raymond and Kyle for helping hold together this team last year while they came back."
Keating pointed out the seniors will have a big say in what the Broncos do the rest of this season in hopes of continuing in the post-season. "We ultimately didn't get our goal of making the NCAA tournament this year, but I am really proud of these five seniors. These five seniors have had a big hand in building this program. This one was win and not go to the NCAA tournament. Our next game will be win or go home. We are fortunate that our body of work will help us get to the post-season. We are going to take advantage of it and have a lot of fun. This isn't the legacy we set out to finish at the beginning of the WCC tournament, but it's where we are."
"They were controlling the pace and when we got up a couple of times by 10, they kept fighting," said Kevin Foster.
"We have to remember our season isn't over yet. The next week or so we have to forget about it and get ready for what's next," said Marc Trasolini.
Santa Clara shot 39.6 percent from the field (19 of 48), including 35.3 percent from beyond the arc (6 of 17). The Broncos shot 87.5 percent from the free throw line (14 of 16). They collected 31 rebounds, eight assists, five steals, five blocks and had 14 turnovers.
Santa Clara was led by Kevin Foster who scored 23 points on 10-11 from the free throw line while knocking down three from long distance. Marc Trasolini added 10 points on 3-8 shooting with six boards while Brandon Clark scored eight with three assists. Evan Roquemore scored seven points and John McArthur added four points with six rebounds.
LMU shot 41.4 percent from the field (24 of 58), including 23.1 percent from beyond the arc (3 of 13). The Lions shot 52.9 percent from the free throw line (9 of 17). They collected 37 rebounds, five assists, nine steals, one block and had 12 turnovers.
Anthony Ireland led all scorers with 23 points on 9-20 shooting while three boards and three assists. Ashley Hamilton added 13 points and nine boards while Alex Osborne had a game-high 11 rebounds while scoring five points.
Ireland got the scoring started with a jumper in the lane at 18:49 to put LMU on the board and give the Lions an early 2-0 lead. Foster was fouled by Okonji and he scored both at 18:04 and Cowels III gave the Broncos a 4-2 lead with a bucket inside at 17:21.
Hamilton scored at 16:46 and Harrison answered at 16:11 in front of two free throws from Foster at 15:32 that put the Broncos up four and on an 8-2 run over 2:32. The run ended when Ireland hit a short jumper in the lane at 14:13 to get LMU back within two points.
Trasolini hit a couple of free throws at 13:48 when Okonji picked up his second foul of the game, putting SCU up 10-6. Osborne missed two free throws as the Lions started the game 0-5 from the free throw line.
Ireland hit a three and B. Clark answered at 13:03 before Osborne and B. Clark traded jumpers in the lane to keep the Bronco lead at four points with 12 and a half minutes left in the opening half. Roquemore and Hamilton scored inside at 11:25 and 10:50, respectively to make it 17-13 Broncos.
Foster nailed his first three of the game and 405th of his career at the 9:55 mark. On the next offensive possession Roquemore nailed a triple to put Santa Clara on top by double-digits for the first time at 23-13 and put the Broncos on a 6-0 run over 46 seconds. Foster drew a charge on defense and forced LMU to call a timeout to regroup.
Walker made a three from the right corner at the 8:23 mark to end the Santa Clara run and cut the LMU deficit to seven. Foster was fouled on the defensive end for the second time in the half on a hook by Hamilton at 7:20. Hamilton scored the Lions first two free throws at 6:27.
After LMU failed to convert on a fast break, Foster hit a three from the left elbow at 6:27. Roquemore hit a long two on the ensuing possession at 5:13 and Ireland scored his 9th point for the Lions in the first half at 4:55. Trasolini scored his first basket at 4:00, 30-22 Broncos.
Hamilton scored one of two free throws at 3:20, but Ireland scored a jumper inside at 3:12 to make it 30-25 Broncos.
John McArthur made a nice move on the baseline and connected on a reverse layup at 2:02 but Nick Stover responded on the other end with a layup of his own and Bruce English followed with a tip-in to get the Lions within three and Santa Clara whistled for time, up 32-29 at 1:20. Stover slammed one home off of a Bronco turnover to make it a one-point game and put the Lions on a 6-0 run over a minute.
Foster ended the run when he was fouled shooting a three by English and he scored two from the charity stripe to make the Broncos lead 34-31 with 33 seconds left. LMU held the ball for the last shot and Ireland penetrated for a bucket and one when he was fouled by Denzel Johnson with 1.7 seconds left. The game was tied 34-34 at the half.
In the first half Santa Clara shot 37.9 percent from the field (11 of 29), including 33.3 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 12). The Broncos shot 88.9 percent from the free throw line (8 of 9). They collected 17 rebounds, five assists, two steals, two blocks and had five turnovers. Santa Clara was led by Foster who scored 12. He was 2-12 from the field, but 6-7 from the free throw line. Roquemore had seven and Trasolini and McArthur grabbed four boards each.
LMU shot 46.7 percent from the field (14 of 30), including 66.7 percent from beyond the arc (2 of 3). The Lions shot 40.0 percent from the free throw line (4 of 10). They collected 21 rebounds, four assists, four steals, zero blocks and had eight turnovers. LMU was led by Ireland who was 6-9 from the field for 14 points. Osborne collected seven rebounds for the Lions.
Osborne made a layup and made a free throw to start the second half and put LMU up three early in the half. Trasolini answered with a dunk on the other end for the first Bronco points of the half. On the next Bronco possession Trasolini hit a pair from the charity stripe to get Santa Clara back on top 38-37 at 18:20.
Okonji picked up his fourth foul at 14:35 and went to the bench. The Lions went back up by a point on a layup by Taylor Walker that ended a nearly five minute scoreless drought for both teams. Ireland picked McArthur for a steal and went coast-to-coast but Trasolini answered with a layup of his own on the other end at 12:57 to pull within one at 41-40. The lead changed again when Atanga made a layup on a nice pass from B. Clark. B. Clark followed with a three on the next offensive possession to get the Broncos out on top by four. Foster made a runner in the lane at 11:15 to put Santa Clara on a 9-0 run over 1:44.
The run ended with a three by Stover as the shot clock was winding down at 10:44. Stover scored again on a nifty reverse layup to get LMU back within one at 9:53. Atanga's block on Ireland's shot resulted in a bucket on the offensive end by McArthur. B. Clark stole the ball on the Lions inbounds and Foster was fouled and he sank both to put SCU up five, 51-46 at 8:32.
The Lions went on a 9-0 run. Ireland scored in the paint at 6:47. Foster answered inside at 6:27. Okonji was fouled going up and connected on one of two, 53-49 Broncos. Hamilton added two jumpers in less than a minute to tie it up. After a missed jumper by Trasolini, Hamilton scored again to make it a 9-0 LMU run over 3:21 and give the Lions a 55-53 lead. Santa Clara was 0-4 from the field during the stretch. Ireland continued the run with two from the line to make it a two-possession game.
Foster stopped the run with a three at 2:16 to pull SCU within one, 57-56 Lions. Cowels III stole the ball from Hamilton with time winding down. Foster was whistled for an offensive foul driving the lane at 1:13. Timeout Lions.
Ireland's three with 43 seconds was off the mark and Cowels III rebounded it. Okonji crushed Foster to foul out with 26.8 seconds left. Foster stepped to the line and sank one to tie it at 57-57. His second free throw gave the Broncos a 58-57 lead.
Ireland's bucket with 5.2 left on the clock bounced in before it went in to give the Lions a one point lead. Keating whistled for time.
On the inbounds Trasolini was running down the floor and passed it to B. Clark before Hamilton fouled B. Clark. B. Clark stepped to the line before the Lions whistled for time. There was 4.2 seconds on the clock. B. Clark missed the first of the one and one and the Broncos immediately fouled Ireland with 2.0 seconds left. Timeout Broncos. Ireland missed the first and made the second to make it 60-58 Lions. Timeout Broncos - their final of the game. Foster's halfcourt shot was off the mark and the Lions won 60-58.
Kevin Foster has made 407 career threes and is two from tying No. 8 Keith Veney of Lamar/Marshall who made 409 threes through 1997. With Foster has scored 19+ in 59 of his 127 career games. He has 15+ in 83 career games.
Kevin Foster started his 119th career game after setting the school record vs. LMU on Feb. 28. Foster played in his 127th game, tying No. 4 Kyle Bailey (2001-05).
Marc Trasolini and Raymond Cowels III played in their 131st career game, having broken the school record for career games played vs. LMU on Feb. 28. Foster played in his 127th game, tying No. 4 Kyle Bailey (2001-05). Playing in his 122nd career game, Niyi Harrison moved to a tie at No. 7 with Brody Angley (2004-08) and Mitch Burley (1985-89).
The Lions went on a 9-0 late in the second half to go up 57-53 at 2:39 before Foster hit a three at 1:13 to stop the run.