Samhan, Simpson lead Saint Mary’s past Loyola Marymount, 87-55
MORAGA, Calif. (AP)—Diamon Simpson had 21 points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals and Saint Mary’s remained unbeaten in West Coast Conference play with an 87-55 victory over Loyola Marymount on Monday night.
Gaels starters Simpson, Omar Samhan and Todd Golden combined to make their first 16 shots and Saint Mary’s shot 55 percent.
Samhan finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, sporting a brand-new buzz cut rather than his traditional faux-hawk. The 6-foot-11 center hit his first eight field-goal tries and finished 8-for-9.
Simpson was 7-for-8 after making his initial six shots and Golden went 3-of-3 with eight points and four boards for the Gaels (16-2, 3-0 WCC), who won their fourth straight since losing at then-No. 14 Texas on Jan. 5.
Saint Mary’s would like to get back in the Top 25 after sitting at 26th this week. Standout freshman Patty Mills added 11 points, six steals and five assists in only 23 minutes, hitting two 3-pointers and getting a steal and transition basket during a 17-2 run to start the second half.
Quentin Turner scored 14 points for the cold-shooting Lions (4-16, 1-3), who struggled to get open looks against the Gaels’ pressure man-to-man defense and were outrebounded 42-27 by Saint Mary’s. Freshman Orlando Johnson scored nine of his 11 points in the first half of Loyola Marymount’s fifth straight road defeat.
The Gaels won their third straight against LMU—and sixth of eight meetings overall in the series after sweeping the Lions last season—despite going 14-for-28 from the free throw line in this one. Saint Mary’s shot 57 percent in the opening 20 minutes and had six blocks, two apiece by Samhan and Simpson, on the way to a 40-26 halftime lead.
Simpson scored the first four points after the break and Samhan had the next basket before a 3 by Mills made it 49-26 with 17:45 remaining.
Loyola Marymount has lost nine of 10 and 12 of 14. The Lions were coming off a loss at Santa Clara on Saturday in which they were held to a season-low 35 points—the school’s lowest total since 1949-50.
Saint Mary’s made 5 of its first 8 shots on the way to an 11-2 lead and never looked back. LMU committed six turnovers in the opening nine minutes and finished with 19.