LOS ANGELES -- A furious rally in the final five minutes of regulation put Weber State in position to reach the quarterfinals of the Collegeinsider.com Tournament.
However, Loyola Marymount took control in overtime for an 84-78 victory Sunday at LMU's Gersten Pavilion.
Damian Lilliard scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. Gelaun Wheelwright added career bests of 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Lilliard also took over fifth place in career scoring for the Big Sky Conference.
But the Wildcats (25-7) lost three of their final five games after winning 17 of their previous 18.
For the eighth consecutive game, Weber State got outrebounded. The Lions grabbed 48 rebounds to the Wildcats' 31, and dominated WSU under its own glass, 32-9.
"They've got a lot better athletes than we do," Wildcats coach Randy Rahe said. "(LMU) is a very, very athletic team and, overall, our team's not that way. Their athleticism enabled them to get to balls a lot faster than we could."
The Lions (21-12) not only controlled the backboards but stifled Lilliard in the first half. The junior, second nationally in scoring as the season ended, missed all five of his shots from the floor and scored six points -- all on free throws.
As a result, the Wildcats' offense sputtered. At one point, Weber State missed 13 of 15 shots during the first half.
"That made it harder for me because I like to get in the paint," Lillard said. "They just shrank the floor. They collapsed on me real well. There wasn't a lot of space and they were real active with their hands."
But the Wildcats, who trailed by as many as 13 points, made their move with 5:09 left in regulation.
Wheelwright made a 3-point shot and another jumper inside, then Lillard added four free throws in a 9-0 spurt that narrowed the margin to 63-61 with 2:59 remaining. One minute later, Jordan Richardson made a pivotal play.
LMU's Ashley Hamilton almost stole Darin Mahoney's pass but Richrdson dived on the floor for the loose ball, recovered it and called a timeout with 1:50 to go.
Fifteen seconds later, Lilliard converted two foul shots to force a 65-65 tie. The Lions' Drew Viney responded with a 3-pointer as 1:21 remained, but Lilliard's own 3-pointer forced overtime with 22.6 seconds left.
"We basically just fought our butts off," Rahe said. "Once we did that, we got more confidence."
With that confidence came improved shooting, and with the improved shooting came Lillard's revival. The Big Sky's most valuable player made four of seven field-goal attempts while his teammates shot 44.8 percent in the second half.
"We got in attack mode," Lillard said. "Guys started to make plays other than me. (LMU) had to respect it and everything opened up for me."
WSU's defense also attacked. The Wildcats forced 10 turnovers in the second half and used them to score 16 points.
"Once we started to push in transition," Lillard said, "that's when the momentum started to come our way."
But LMU closed Weber State down in overtime. Wheelwright and Richardson missed the Wildcats' first two shots, both from 3-point range, as the Lions scored the first five points. Yet Weber State had one surge left.
Lillard's driving lay-in brought the Wildcats within 80-76 with 30.4 seconds to play. Then Hamilton's errant inbounds pass gave Weber State another possession. Wheelwright's jumper with 24.7 seconds left narrowed the margin to 80-78.
But Anthony Ireland made four free throws in the final 21.2 seconds to secure the victory.
Ireland had 20 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Viney added 23 points for the Lions, who will face Utah State in the CIT quarterfinals.