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Loyola Runs by St. Mary’s in 72-68 Win

From Staff and Wire Reports

Robin Kirksey scored a season-high 22 points Friday to lead Loyola Marymount to a 72-68 West Coast Conference victory at St. Mary’s.

It’s the first time Loyola has won a conference opener on the road since 1990.

“Our balance really surfaced tonight, and our seniors really made the key plays down the stretch to enable us to get this win,” said Lion Coach John Olive. “This is a very big win for us. This is one of the toughest places to win on the road in our league.”

Loyola Marymount (9-4) overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half with the help of Kirksey’s 18 points.

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"(St. Mary’s) did a good job of packing it in against us and limiting our power game, so we set up some plays for our perimeter guys and they really came through tonight,” Olive said.

Loyola Marymount took a 69-66 lead on a layup by Kirksey with 45 seconds to play. St Mary’s (5-7, 0-2) cut it to 69-68 on a basket by Brent Farris. Jim Williamson hit two free throws with 19 seconds remaining and Mike O’Quinn blocked a three-point shot by the Gaels’ Josh Unruh to clinch the game.

The Gaels led at halftime, 43-34, despite being without A.J. Rollins, who was out with a pulled hamstring. St. Mary’s took its largest lead, 49-36, on Jumoke Horton’s layup with 17:11 to play.

Loyola then embarked on a 22-8 run to take their first lead, 58-57, on Cobi McElroy’s three-point basket with 6:05 to play. Kirksey, who averages nine points a game, scored 14 during the Lions’ run.

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