Friday, February 19, 2010
Good day for Loyola Marymount, not Zags
By Diamond Leung
Exactly two weeks to the 20th anniversary of the death of Hank Gathers, Loyola Marymount pulled off a historic win in Hank's House.
LMU stunned No. 9 Gonzaga 74-66 at Gersten Pavilion on Thursday, marking the Lions' first win against a ranked team since Bo Kimble and the 1990 team captivated the nation by beating Alabama in the Sweet 16 while playing with the grief of Gathers' death. Since that day in Oakland, the Lions had been 0-35 against Top 25 teams.
Ashley Hamilton scored 17 points and had six rebounds in Loyola Marymount's upset of No. 9 Gonzaga.
After this one, though, the students were rushing the court.
Second-year coach Max Good put the upset in perspective, as he hoped it would be the start of LMU's return to at least something resembling the glory days.
"Everyone's running around all excited," Good said by phone. "The wins are just a little less miserable than the losses."
The Lions, at 14-13 with road wins against Notre Dame and USC, have more victories this season than in the previous two combined (eight). This despite being plagued by injuries and lacking a single senior on their roster.
Credit Good, known for being a foul-mouthed disciplinarian, for kick-starting the Lions' return thus far to respectability and getting players he half-jokingly calls "social misfits" to perform.
"My first job is to make these kids graduate," Good said before repeating the mantra he uses on them.
"Prisons and cemeteries are full of people that make bad five-second decisions."
Even during the game, Good sent sophomore guard Kevin Young to the bench, and the two exchanged words while Good said he was trying to explain an error made on the court. Good followed him to the end of the bench and appeared to very briefly put his hand on Young's neck.
Asked if he regretted the physical contact, Good said, "I was just trying to get him calmed down. Of course not. Anyone that got that has too much time on their hands.
"Kevin is just a very emotional kid and very intense competitor and sometimes will sulk. He's not a good kid. He's a great kid."
Ashley Hamilton scored 17 points to lead LMU, and Oregon transfer Drew Viney added 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the Lions to the upset.
Gonzaga, meanwhile, is appearing vulnerable and could take a hit in its tournament seeding after shooting 34.4 percent and suffering its second West Coast Conference loss. The Zags lead Saint Mary's by a half-game and Portland by a game in the standings, but have already swept both teams.
"Gonzaga’s still Gonzaga," Good said. "The rest of the teams are validated because they set the bar. That’s where we want to get to."