Loyola Finds Pace to Its Liking : Lions: San Diego tries to run, but it can't keep up with Gathers and Kimble in 119-112 victory.


What, Paul Westhead worry?


The man has seen a lot of baskets in his five years at Loyola Marymount.

So there was little cause for concern when an exuberant University of San Diego team began pressing his 23rd-ranked Lions Saturday night in front of a standing-room-only crowd listed at 2,500 in the USD Sports Center.

As long as the pace was furious and the score was high, Westhead was happy.

Loyola Marymount usually wins these games, and Saturday was no different. The final: Loyola Marymount 119, USD 112.

It was the Lions' fourth consecutive victory, their second in the West Coast Conference. Loyola Marymount's 11-3 start equals its best ever. In 1987-88, the Lions started 10-3 and also defeated USD in the 14th game. They did not lose again until the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished 28-4.

USD, which lost its second in a row after a three-game winning streak, fell to 6-9, 1-2.

"I like that pace," Westhead said. "I knew we were all right because the score was so high."

"Sub-par," Lion forward Bo Kimble said of his team's performance. "I know we can play a lot better, but we've got to hand it to San Diego. They played well. They had us scouted well. They were prepared."

USD lost to the Lions for the fifth consecutive time. In each, Loyola has scored more than 100 points. The Lions, second in the nation in offense with a 117.6 average going in, hit the 100-point mark for the 12th time in 14 games this season.

"They're so unique that they make it hard for you to adjust," USD Coach Hank Egan said.

Hank Gathers led all scorers with 32 points, the first time he has led the Lions in scoring since a fainting incident Dec. 9 against UC Santa Barbara. Kimble, the nation's leading scorer, was nine under his season average with 28 points. Jeff Fryer added 19.

Dondi Bell had a career-high 20 points for USD. Craig Cottrell had 18, and John Jerome and Wayman Strickland added 17 apiece.

USD scored the first six points as Loyola missed its first four shots. The Toreros held the advantage until Per Stumer made a three-point basket with 12:20 left, giving the Lions their first lead, 19-16.

Loyola took a 34-27 lead with 8:45 remaining in the half, but two layups by Cottrell, a five-footer by Bell and a layup byKelvin Woods, around a basket by Kimble, pulled USD to within 36-35.

Strickland's free throws tied the score, 41-41, but Kimble quickly answered with a three-point basket to put Loyola back on top.

Late in the half, the Lions rallied for nine consecutive points and took their biggest lead before halftime, 56-45, with 2:30 left.

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