Former UNLV coach Max Good has led Loyola Marymount into the semifinals of the West Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena.
The Lions earned an 84-76 victory over San Francisco for their second win in as many nights and will move on to play top-seeded Gonzaga in the semifinals tomorrow night.
“We feel very fortunate to win tonight and fortunate to be able to play against Gonzaga tomorrow night,” Good said. “Hopefully after that game, I’ll still feel fortunate for that opportunity.”
Drew Viney had 18 points and eight rebounds for Loyola Marymount, which also got 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists from Vernon Teel.
Kwame Vaughn had a game-high 20 points for the Dons. Star forward Dior Lowhorn had 18 points and nine rebounds in his final game as a collegian.
Teel made a key shot down the stretch for Loyola Marymount.
With the shot clock ticking down in a close game, Teel beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to give the Lions a 77-70 lead with about 50 seconds to play.
San Francisco never got within four points again.
Loyola Marymount coach Max Good doesn’t believe much in the notion of kids being worn out playing in conference tournaments when they have to play as many as four games in four days.
He said it beats the alternative of losing in the first round.
“It’s a hell of a lot better than having to play one night in a row, I‘ll tell you that right now,” he said. “I don’t care if we have to play 10 nights in a row.”
He added that kids play so many games through AAU in the Summer as high school players that the notion of tired legs is a bit blown out of proportion.
He then went on to say that playing basketball is pretty easy compared to the tribulations other people face.
“There’s people fighting wars and there’s people in Haiti and people in Chile. That’s tough,” he said. “This isn’t tough. These kids should be having fun.”
Jerry Tarkanian is sitting courtside for tonight’s game, which isn’t very surprising.
He is a basketball fixture in Las Vegas and no doubt knows Loyola Marymount coach Max Good at least somewhat from Good’s days on the UNLV sidelines.
Another celebrity spotted at the Orleans Arena may take a bit more explanation.
U.S. women’s soccer great Brandi Chastain is in attendance.
She is perhaps best known for her celebratory shirt removal after the U.S. won the Women’s World Cup. She is also a Santa Clara alum.
Chastain was honored along with several other former conference athletes as part of the West Coast Conference’s 25th anniversary Women’s Athletics Team.
She did keep the shirt on when she received her plaque.
Be Careful what you wish for
There is a decent contingent of Loyola Marymount students attending the games here in Las Vegas.
They have been loud and boisterous, but may have gotten a little ahead of themselves.
As the clock was ticking down, they began chanting, “We want Bulldogs.”
The cheer was aimed at top-seeded Gonzaga, whom the Lions will play tomorrow night.
It remains to be seen how excited they are when the game begins and they’ve actually got the Bulldogs.
Loyola Marymount did defeat Gonzaga in the regular season, however, and Drew Viney doesn’t believe it was a fluke.
“We have an awkward mismatch against them,” he said. “Hopefully tomorrow, everyone will come in with the right mindset and we’ll be able to beat them again.”
San Diego will look to pull off an upset of third-seeded Portland in the final game of day two of the West Coast Conference tournament.
The winner of the game will take on No. 2 Saint Mary’s tomorrow.