College hoops • WCC-worst Lions give Cougars a scare.
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Los Angeles • A couple of nights after an emotionally draining loss to No. 2 Gonzaga, the BYU Cougars mustered enough energy to scratch past cellar-dwelling Loyola Marymount late Saturday.
But it wasn't easy.
Tyler Haws scored 24 points and Matt Carlino and Brandon Davies added 11 apiece as the Cougars took a 73-70 win over the Lions in front of a sparse crowd at Gersten Pavilion.
BYU improved to 21-10 overall, 10-6 in West Coast Conference play. Loyola Marymount fell to 1-15 in league play, 8-22 overall.
BYU will be the third seed in next week's conference tournament and will play its first game on Friday at 9:30 p.m. MST against the winner of the San Diego-Pepperdine game, which is Thursday.
Anthony Ireland led LMU with 24 points, and Ashley Hamilton had 18. Alex Osborne, Godwin Okonji and Taylor Walker all fouled out for LMU as the Cougars paraded to the free-throw line in the second half.
After a tight first half, the Cougars built a 15-point lead with less than six minutes remaining, then held on as LMU put together a 10-2 run to get within seven. Haws hit a 3-pointer to end the LMU uprising and scored 20 or more points for the 20th time this season.
Haws was 14 for 14 from the free-throw line and 4 for 12 from the field.
The Cougars started slowly against the WCC's last-place team. They trailed by six with 14 minutes remaining in the first half after a Hamilton 3-pointer, which came seconds after Davies picked up his second foul and headed to the bench.
Craig Cusick's 3-pointer righted the Cougars, however, and they pulled ahead when Davies returned and scored a couple of quick baskets.
With LMU failing to record a field goal in the final five minutes of the first half, the Cougars took a 34-28 lead at the break.
The Cougars overcame six first-half turnovers by outrebounding the Lions 24-13 in the first half. Haws had eight points at halftime to lead the Cougars, while Hamilton had 12 to lead LMU.
Storylines BYU 73, Loyola Marymount 70
R In Short • It isn't pretty, but BYU holds off last-place Loyola Marymount in its WCC regular-season finale
Key Moment • Three LMU players foul out in the second half in a game that features 50 fouls.
Key Stat • Tyler Haws goes 14 for 14 from the free-throw line.