Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Paced by 17 points and 13 rebounds from Ryan Nicholas, the Portland Pilots overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to take down the Loyola Marymount Lions, 68-64, in a West Coast Conference tilt at Gersten Pavilion.
Derrick Rodgers scored 10 points and dished out nine assists for Portland (8-10, 1-2 WCC), which snapped a three-game losing streak. Thomas Van Der Mars also narrowly missed a double-double with 11 points and nine boards, while Kevin Bailey chipped in 14 points.
For Loyola (8-9, 1-3), Anthony Ireland shot 4-of-8 from 3-point range on his way to 22 points. The WCC's second-leading scorer has now put up 20 or more points in nine games this season. Ashley Hamilton added 17 points, and Bruce English netted 11 for the Lions, who lost for the third time in the last four games.
Loyola just barely outshot Portland from the field in the first half, 42.9 percent to 40.9 percent, but it was able to take a 31-21 lead into intermission by draining five 3-pointers. The Pilots shot only 1-of-5 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes.
Portland came out red-hot after the break, and it used a 20-9 run to take a 41-40 lead with just under 13 minutes to play. After Loyola briefly regained the advantage, the Pilots retook the lead with 8:38 to play on a Bailey layup. The Lions brought the game to within two with under a minute left on a pair of Ireland free throws, but Nicholas sealed the Portland victory with a layup in the waning seconds.
Portland dominated the rebounding battle, 43-19, which helped overcome its game-high 17 turnovers.