Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - A layup by Anthony Ireland with 5.9 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Loyola Marymount Lions stunned the Santa Clara Broncos, 60-58, in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament at Orleans Arena.
Ireland finished with a team-best 23 points for the ninth-seeded Lions (11-22) who are currently enjoying their first three-game win streak of the season. Ireland shot just 1-of-6 behind the 3-point line on the night, but made up for that lack of accuracy by registering seven steals. Ashley Hamilton was credited with 13 points and nine boards, followed by Nick Stover with 11 points off the bench.
The fourth-seeded Broncos (21-11) were paced by Kevin Foster who tallied 23 points for his squad, but he shot a mere 3-of-11 beyond the arc and 5-of-19 from the floor overall, not to mention suffering seven turnovers. Marc Trasolini dropped in 10 points in defeat.
Santa Clara shot a mere 37.9 percent from the floor through the first 20 minutes of action, yet that was still good enough to lock the score at 34-34 at the break.
Things began to get interesting late in the second half when a pair of free throws by Foster gave the Broncos a 58-57 edge with 26.8 seconds left in regulation. Ireland then walked the ball up the floor and broke to the basket to convert a clutch layup.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Hamilton fouled Brandon Clark unintentionally in the backcourt and that sent the reserve to the charity stripe with 4.2 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, Clark missed the front end of a one-and-one, Ireland grabbed the rebound and consequently knocked down one of two at the stripe in order to extend the margin to two points.
The Broncos still had two seconds left to change the outcome, but Foster's heave from half court missed the mark.
With the win the Lions, who had dropped 14 straight conference games en route to the WCC Tournament, now advance to the semifinals on Saturday night where they will go up against top-ranked Gonzaga.