I recently attended LMU’s first homecoming basketball game and boy was it a good one! It was a stellar showdown between two of the fiercest cats on earth, the LMU Lions and the BYU Cougars.
On game day, the university grounds were radiating with school spirit. There were towering “Game Day” signs all over campus, a giant blow up Iggy the Lion on Alumni Hall right in the center of campus, road signs directing traffic towards the stadium, and nearly every building on campus had some kind of reminder about the game. Never in my four years of attending LMU have I seen so much hype and anticipation built up for one basketball game. It was marvelous to see the school teeming with pride.
Because I’m in charge of running the social media pages for The Burns Recreation Center (the gym on campus), I had been promoting the game on our Instagram and Facebook pages all week and was pretty excited for it myself. For the first time ever since I’ve been a student, LMU also held a student pre-game on the grounds outside the basketball stadium. I attended the pre-game myself and was pleasantly surprised at how many people were there. It was an awesome event and definitely improved the student turnout for the game. I’m hoping it becomes a regular thing, because it would be a surefire way to amp up the school spirit and get students to attend the games more regularly.
Going into this game BYU had a 12-6 record and LMU had a 9-9 record. As much as I was rooting for LMU and hoping they would pull off a victory, I knew it wasn’t all that likely. Maybe it was all the build up, or maybe it was just the relentless competitive drive of our Lions, but LMU shocked everyone and came out on fire! Adom Jacko threw down a few monster dunks and got the crowd on their feet. In the middle of the first half we went on a 20-0 run and were up by as much as 14 points. It was as if the ball was magnetized to the rim, it seemed like we were making every shot. The crowd was going wild, and the stadium was as electric as I’ve ever seen it. We had all the momentum and the first half ended with LMU up by 10 points (50-40).
The Cougars came out of halftime reinvigorated, and made three consecutive 3-point shots, cutting the lead to four within the first two minutes of the second half. The rest of the half, the two teams were neck and neck. Both teams were playing at their best and it was a tight game right down to the last few minutes. Unfortunately, the Lions started to get a little sloppy in the last five minutes of the game and BYU capitalized on our mistakes. The Cougars had just a tad more stamina and were able to pull away with the game in the last two minutes, winning 91-80.
Despite the outcome, the Lions played a fantastic game! I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the stadium was impressed by LMU’s level of play. They showed everyone watching what they are capable of with streaks where they completely dominated one of the best teams in the division.
I was disappointed that we lost, but I left the stadium in high-spirits because the Lions exceeded my expectations and put on quite a show. The school was adorned with more demonstrations of pride than ever before and the team played better for it. I had absolutely no complaints.