The Lions have been the Cinderella of the WCC Tournament the past two years. With Alex Osborne's dunk on their first possession, it looked as if the time of day was indeed early afternoon.
We aren't supposed to spring forward until tomorrow morning. The Cougars didn't care, they quickly moved the clocks up to 11:59 PM.
The Cougars' first four poitns came from Kyle Collinsworth, who sparked an 8-0 BYU run. In his typical, stat-sheet-stuffing style, both buckets were accompanied by offensive rebounds. Collinsworth would finish with 16 points and eight rebounds in the half.
Triple digits aren't uncommon for the Cougars, they've reached them four times this season. With ten points in the first four minutes, 20 in the first eight, 30 in the first twelve and 39 in the first 16, they were on pace for a fifth 100+ point game for most of the half.
The shorthanded Lions, who really don't have enough bodies to run with the Cougars for a full game, had to rely on runs to stay alive.
Gabe Levin cut the BYU lead to two with 14:57 left. The Cougars took just four minutes to run out to a 16 point lead. Five points from Evan Payne helped cut the lead back to a manageable ten points. BYU then went off and claimed an 18 point lead with just over five minutes left. LMU cut into the lead to seven by the break.
Over the final five minutes of the first the Lions outscored the Cougars 15-4.
The Lions went into halftime with momentum. BYU tried to steal it back at the start of the second by scoring five unanswered points in the first two minutes. But, just like the first half, the Lions would go on runs whenever the Cougars tried to push past a ten point lead.
Anthony Ireland was especially productive during the second half. After being held scoreless for most of the first half, and without a field goal for the first 19:30, he finished the game with 19 points.
Ireland's productivity never waned as the half progressed but, as was too often the case over the course of his career, his teammates' were unable to support him.
For the Cougars, Tyler Haws and Anson Winder led the way late, both had 10 second half points and finished with 22 and 16 respectively. Winder is a defensive spark for the Cougars, which is why he's been moved into the starting lineup recently. He recorded six steals today.
Ireland's career came to an end 20.1 seconds early, when he picked up his fifth foul down 12 points. The Lions fought until that point, but with their leader on the bench and a 14 point deficit, the clock finally stuck midnight.
The Cougars advance to face San Francisco in Monday's semifinal.
The Lions' season is over, so Anthony Ireland will not be able to score any more points. He finishes third all time at LMU with 2,169 career points. He's also third in assists and second in steals.