You've got a team with a legitimate shot at winning the WCC Tournament next week in Las Vegas and a team set to play in what is essentially a play-in game. But, you've also got rivals situated 19 miles apart on the Pacific Coast Highway.
The game opened like you would expect for a game between teams on opposite ends of the standings but played out like a classic rivalry game. Pepperdine came into this game knowing they would be the four seed in Vegas and would face San Francisco in their opening game. LMU on the other hand had something to play for, other than of course a win.
LMU came into today as the eight seed, forced to play in the opening round game against San Diego. With a win, and help from Portland and Pacific (which is ineligible for the postseason, hence the play-in game for the ten team WCC) the Lions would bypass that opening round game.
Lamond Murray Jr. (19 points, 10 rebounds) and the Waves started fast and opened up a nine point lead in less than five minutes. Pepperdine coughed up the lead, though, with 11 first half turnovers. The Waves average 11 turnovers per game this season (they finished with a season high 20 today).
With 6:40 left in the first Jeremy Major turned the ball over and senior Marin Mornar (17 points) took it the other way for a lay-up. That tied the game at 21. The next Pepperdine possession was another turnover, this time from Murray, and once again Mornar converted. That gave the Lions their first lead of the game.
They'd extend that lead to nine, matching Pepperdine's largest.
The Waves took much better care of the ball in the second half, which kept the Lions from extending their lead. Pepperdine slowly climbed back into it but failed to really pull ahead of LMU. There were nine ties in the second half of the game. And that ninth tie was a magical moment from senior Marin Mornar.
With 19 seconds left and the shot clock winding down the ball found it's way to Mornar in the corner. The Lions trailed 63-66 until his three pointer fell through the net. The senior, on senior day, sent the game into overtime.
For the second time in as many Saturday's the Lions were going to overtime. For the second time this season against Pepperdine the Lions were going to overtime.
It wasn't his senior day, but Pepperdine senior Jett Raines (21 points) won't forget today's game against the Lions. With 14 points in regulation the forward's career total sat at 999. He moved past 1,000 career points with 1:26 to play in the first overtime.
The second overtime was forced by, of all people, freshman Munis Tutu. Coming into today the reserve guard was shooting below 30% from the field and below 24% from three. That didn't stop him from taking and making a game-tying three with 9.2 seconds to play.
For the first five minutes of the game it was all Pepperdine. It was close, back and forth, for the next 40 minutes. The final five were all LMU, and mostly Marin Mornar. LMU outscored Pepperdine 12-3 in the second overtime and Mornar accounted for six of those points. His senior counterpart, Raines, scored all three of the Waves' points.
Shamar Johnson (18 points) had a career game despite fouling out midway through the second overtime.