McKenzie Scores 30 as Loyola Beats Cal, 80-75

Times Staff Writer

There are several ways to beat Loyola Marymount in a basketball game:

--Don't run with the Lions unless you're sure you can.

--Don't let Forrest McKenzie and Keith Smith get hot from outside.

--Hit your free throws.

The University of California had only modest success doing all three Thursday night and became Loyola's first-ever victim in the National Invitation Tournament, 80-75.

Loyola recorded its first victory over a Pacific 10 conference team in 10 years and handed Cal only its second loss at home this season to advance to an NIT second-round game Monday against Wyoming at Laramie, Wyo.

In improving to 19-10 and dropping Cal to 19-10, Loyola rode a 30-point performance by McKenzie and some strong play down the stretch to overcome foul problems.

Smith picked up three fouls in the first 4:32 and his fourth six minutes into the second half, and Loyola played shakily as Cal opened a 20-14 lead. Smith scored only four points in the first half.

However, with strong inside play from junior center Vic Lazzaretti and a solid closing effort by Smith and freshman guard Enoch Simmons, the Lions actually appeared to be the more poised team before a deafening sellout crowd of 6,600 in Harmon Arena.

After the slow start, the Lions roared back to take a 42-38 halftime lead and had an advantage down the stretch that reached nine points at 77-68.

Lazzaretti's follow-ups of two missed shots gave Loyola its first lead at 25-24, and McKenzie shot the Lions into leads that reached five points by hitting 9 of 13 shots for 22 first-half points. Lazzaretti was Loyola's other instrumental player, scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds in the half to offset Smith's slow start.

Cal failed to take advantage of Loyola's foul trouble, hitting only 5 of 14 free throws in the half. Cal junior guard Kevin Johnson kept the Bears in the game with 16 points. He finished with 25.

The second half found Cal tying Loyola at 51 and 53, and the Bears built the lead to 57-53 before Loyola Coach Paul Westhead reinserted Smith.

The risky move worked. Loyola reeled off a 20-8 run, with Smith accounting for eight points and two assists, and Simmons six points. Smith finished with 14 points and Simmons had 12. Lazzaretti finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Cal was trying to keep up with the Lions and missed four straight shots, each being converted into a Loyola fast break.

Cal finally cut the lead to 77-73 with 25 seconds left, but Smith hit two free throws and McKenzie added another for the victory.

First-year Cal Coach Lou Campanelli praised McKenzie and Smith after the game.

"McKenzie's offensive show was probably as fine an offensive show as I've ever had a player perform against us," he said. "McKenzie and Smith are everything they said they were. They're first-round draft choices. They didn't have an easy shot. They hit shots first-rounders make. People in the rest of the country don't know what they're missing. The scouts know how good they are."

Westhead said his team's ability to maintain its poise when Smith got in early foul trouble was the key. "Our poise was won in the first five minutes, when we should've packed our bags and gone home," Westhead said. "Once we re-established it, then I don't think the poise ever left us."

McKenzie, who hit 12 of 20 shots, said: "If we get the next win, we will really prove we can play with anyone in the NIT. Right now we know it is within us but we've got to prove it."

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