By TOMMY CONMY The Associated Press
SPOKANE, Wash. — Cam Shelton banked in a go-ahead runner with 13 seconds left and Loyola Marymount snapped No. 6 Gonzaga’s 75-game home winning streak with a 68-67 victory on Thursday night.
The home streak for the Bulldogs (16-4 overall, 5-1 West Coast Conference) was tied with Long Beach State (from 1968-74) for the eighth-longest in Division I history.
Shelton scored 27 points to lead the Lions (14-7, 4-3), who hadn’t won in Spokane since 1991 and had lost 25 straight overall to the Zags.
“For us, it’s another sign that our program is moving in the right direction, and that’s the biggest thing,” Loyola Marymount coach Stan Johnson said. “Not too many people are going to come up here and win, so I think it just stands and validates the guys we have in the locker room and all the things we’ve been trying to accomplish.”
Gonzaga had won 93 consecutive games against unranked opponents – with 69 of those coming at home – and had won its previous 116 WCC games against teams other than Saint Mary’s and BYU.
“The home streak is over,” Zags coach Mark Few said. “It was going to end sometime and it ended in a tough, hard-fought battle. Our guys battled back and had a shot to keep it going. … I don’t think anybody is going to touch that (streak) for quite some time.”
Gonzaga’s streak of 36 straight wins in the month of January also ended. The Bulldogs had won 11 straight overall, the fourth-best streak in the country, since losing to Baylor, 64-63, on Dec. 2.
Jalin Anderson added 15 points and Keli Leaupepe had 11 for the Lions. LMU led by as much as nine points in the second half and held off Gonzaga’s late run.
LMU led 66-59 with 2:55 left after Shelton’s 3-pointer, but the Zags scored the next eight points to take a 67-66 lead on Drew Timme’s free throw with 41 seconds left. With the shot clock running down, Shelton converted a runner from just outside the lane to give the Lions the lead, and Timme’s last attempt at a winner was partly blocked by Leaupepe.
Shelton’s savvy play was crucial for the Lions in the closing minutes.
“Cam’s had a really tremendous year thus far and I thought he put pressure on them getting in the paint,” Johnson said. “I thought he made some good decisions finding his guys and I thought he had great poise, and that’s what you want from a veteran point guard.”
Timme led the Zags with 17 points. Nolan Hickman chipped in 12 points and six assists for the Zags, who were coming off a 115-75 victory over Portland last Saturday.
Gonzaga struggled from the field, shooting 44.4% overall and going 4 for 14 (28.6%) from 3-point range and 15 for 23 (65.2%) from the free-throw line.
Although Timme returned after helping Gonzaga to the national title game two years ago and a Sweet 16 appearance last year, there were signs this season might be more challenging for Few’s team after it started 5-3, with losses by 19 points to Texas and by 18 to Purdue.
Still, the Zags added a quality nonconference win over then-No. 4 Alabama and managed close road victories over WCC rivals San Francisco, Santa Clara and BYU en route to a 5-0 start in the league they have dominated for more than two decades, returning to their familiar position in the top 10 of the AP poll.
The Lions improved to 2-2 on the road in WCC play. … Gonzaga had won 29 of its last 30 over Loyola Marymount.
Loyola Marymount hosts Portland next Thursday night.