Hot-Shooting Second Half Sends LMU Past Men's Basketball on Senior Night

Senior pregame recognition
Senior pregame recognition

AUDIO: Halftime Radio Interview with Seniors | VIDEO: Highlights vs. LMU

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's basketball needed a win in its final home game to keep pace in the West Coast Conference standings, but a hot-shooting second half by Loyola Marymount led by center Mattias Markusson was too much on Senior Night.

Markusson posted a double-double with a career-high 19 points, including 15 in the second half, and 12 rebounds, and James Batemon scored 14, including four free throws in the final 25 seconds, to help the Lions hold off the Broncos, 65-64, on Thursday.

KJ Feagin tallied 29 points, including 20 after halftime, and Henry Caruso, one of four seniors playing for the final time in Leavey Center, registered a double-double (11 points/career-high 14 rebounds) for Santa Clara (11-18, 8-9), which had its three-game winning streak snapped to fall into a tie for sixth place in the league standings.

Markusson made all seven from the floor in the second half when the Lions (9-19, 4-13) shot 61 percent from the field and never trailed in the final 12 minutes.

Markusson's 3-point play with 11:49 on the clock pushed the Lions into a 43-40 lead.

The Broncos were able to tie the game once and pull within one point seven times after that, but never able to forge ahead.

Feagin scored the final 11 points for the Broncos, but Batemon hit four in a row from the free-throw line, though his lone miss in the game opened the door for Santa Clara.

A driving layup by Feagin with 17 seconds left pulled the Broncos within 63-62, but Batemon was fouled and nailed both from the line.

Feagin was fouled on a drive with 8.0 seconds remaining and hit twice from the line, but Batemon was fouled and missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 7.1 on the clock. Caruso rebounded the ball and dished to Feagin who drove up the left side of the floor and let a potential game-winning 3-pointer go from the corner at the buzzer that was off the mark.

Eli Scott had 12 points and six rebounds for LMU, which had dropped four of its last five entering the game.

Kai Healy, another senior, matched his season-high with 12 points for the Broncos.

The game was sluggish at the start with the teams combining for just 13 points in the opening 6 minutes.

Neither team led by more than three until Henrik Jadersten nailed a 3-pointer, part of a 7-0 run that pushed the Broncos to a 22-16 lead.

But the Lions responded with an 8-0 run. Jeffrey McClendon and Batemon got inside for baskets, and Cameron Allen nailed a 3-pointer to forge LMU into a 25-24 lead.

Healy scored five of the last eight points for the Broncos who led 30-28 at halftime.

KJ Feagin, Kai Healy, Henry Caruso, Jarvis Pugh and Emmanuel Ndumanya started as a group for the first time this season. Pugh, a senior, was inserted for Josip Vrankic in his final home game. Healy made his ninth-straight start. Matt Hauser (foot) missed his eighth-straight game. He was injured against San Diego (Jan. 25).
• The senior class of Caruso, Healy, Pugh and Ndumanya was recognized in pregame.
• In a series that began in 1937, Santa Clara holds a 91-60 lead. The Broncos have won six of the last nine, including a 65-49 victory last month. The teams have now split the regular-season series in five of the last six years.
• Caruso (11 points/14 rebounds) posted his seventh-career double-double, including fourth of the season, which is tied for sixth in the WCC.
• Caruso played all 40 minutes. He has been off the floor for only 13 minutes in the last 11 games.

The Broncos close the regular season on Saturday at Saint Mary's. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.

Connect with the Broncos on Social Media
• Athletics: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Snapchat
• Men's Basketball: Twitter | Instagram | Snapchat