IRVINE — On Tuesday night, the Lions took on the Anteaters of UCI at the Bren Events Center. Starting the new season with a record of 2–1, LMU looked to stay in the win column and give UCI their first loss of the year.
LMU opened the contest with an early five-point lead… before a run from the Anteaters caused the Lions to call their first timeout of the evening at 13–13. Following a dominant 17–4 run from UCI, the Lions found themselves with a 13-point deficit early on. Sophomores DJ Davis and Bent Leuchten led the effort for UCI in the first half; the Lions could not keep pace, falling behind by as much as 20 points. Their struggle to shoot the ball was apparent. Heading into halftime, UCI led 45–25, with Lions Senior Keli Leaupepe contributing 7 points.
The two teams traded baskets early in the second half, with the Lions continuing to struggle with Leuchten’s presence on the inside. After their first timeout of the period, LMU was able to cut into UCI’s lead — thanks to a couple of quick baskets from junior Jalin Anderson. However, the Anteaters continued to apply pressure on both ends of the floor, making it difficult for the Lions to gain any sort of momentum. Opportunities at the free throw line kept the Lions in the game, but a 2–17 night from three-point range, coupled with Dawson Baker’s hot shooting in the second half, helped the Anteaters close out the Lions 79–64.
“Defensively, we weren’t up to par; we didn’t play to our level,” Anderson said after the game. “We competed in the second half a lot better than we did in the first; we just gotta put a full game together.”
The Lions will look to bounce back Friday when they take on the Georgetown Hoyas in The Jamaica Classic.