A foul call with 0.8 seconds to play sent the San Francisco Dons to a 67-65 defeat on Thursday night at the hands of a Loyola Marymount team that entered the night winless in West Coast Conference play.
Souley Boum’s baseline layup with 3.3 seconds to play put the Dons ahead 65-64 as the visitors erased a four-point deficit in the final 25 seconds, but Boum was called for a foul on Jeffery McClendon’s desperation heave, and McClendon made all three free throws to win the game for LMU.
Video replays indicate the clock did not start for more than a full second after McClendon first touched the ball. Officials reviewed the play after McClendon made the first free throw to tie the game, and after checking the video monitor, they concluded a tenth of a second should be added to the clock.
USF’s full-court pass attempt was intercepted, as the clock ran out on a defeat for the Dons.
Amazingly, the lead had changed hands just twice all game before going back-and-forth in the final seconds. San Francisco (10-8, 2-3 WCC) trailed for most of the second half but never faced a deficit of more than eight points. The Dons used a 6-0 run to tie the game at 54 with 6:54 remaining on a pair of Frankie Ferrari free throws. Ferrari finished the night with 12 points and a team-high eight assists.
While McLendon was the hero for Loyola Marymount (6-10, 1-4), it was freshman Eli Scott, previously a teammate of the Ball brothers at Chino Hills HS, who led all scorers with 18 points. Steven Haney scored 17 for the Lions and 7-foot-3 Mattias Markusson, a native of Sweden, added 12.
Ferrari and Boum each scored 12 for the Dons and Jordan Ratinho added 11. As usual, USF had a heavy lead in bench scoring, eclipsing the Lions’ reserves 30-12.
To add injury to an already tough night for USF, Chase Foster (ankle) and Taavi Jurkatamm (concussion) were both injured in the loss, adding to an already-tall task that Kyle Smith’s team will face on Saturday when the Dons welcome No. 15 Gonzaga for a 6:30 p.m. tip-off at War Memorial Gym.