Loyola Marymount (7-7) at Saint Mary's-CA (11-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: TWCSN, CSN. Home Record: LMU 4-2, SMC 8-0. Away Record: LMU 2-4, SMC 2-1. Neutral Record: LMU 1-1, SMC 1-2. Conference Record: LMU 0-1, SMC 0-0. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 79-54.
GAME NOTES: Having had plenty of time to recoup from their thrilling win on New Year's Eve, the Saint Mary's-CA Gaels now kick off their West Coast Conference schedule on Saturday afternoon as they play host to the Lions of Loyola Marymount.
Trailing by as many as 18 points in the first half against Harvard on Monday night, the Gaels slowly chipped away at their deficit and pulled out the 70-69 win in the waning moments in order to move their overall win streak to three in a row and their run against non-conference foes at home to 16 straight.
SMC, the two-time defending West Coast Conference champion, now has a record of 83-8 at home over the last five seasons.
As for the Lions, they tangled with the BYU Cougars in their conference opener two nights ago and were treated to an ugly 92-51 beat down at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. The setback snapped a brief two-game win streak by Loyola Marymount, and was easily its most lopsided loss of the campaign thus far.
In a relationship that dates back to 1937, the Gaels own a 79-54 advantage in the all-time series with LMU. Last season, SMC won the first meeting in January by a score of 71-64 to extend its win streak over the Lions to 11 in a row, but the meeting played in Moraga was captured by the visitors, 75-60.
Held to just eight field goals in the first half and 30.8 percent shooting from the floor overall on Thursday night, the Lions didn't show much pride as they were being whipped by the Cougars of BYU. Ashley Hamilton was the lone double-digit scorer for the program with his 16 points, but even though he converted 3-of-4 shots behind the 3-point line, he connected on just 5-of-15 attempts from the floor overall for a team that was 6-of-22 beyond the arc. Anthony Ireland, who made just 4-of-13 from the field as he finished with nine points versus BYU, remains the leading scorer by far for the Lions with his 20.4 ppg as he shoots almost as well from behind the 3-point line (.429) as he does the floor (.438) overall. Hamilton not only checks in with 14.9 ppg to place second on the team, he is first on the glass with 7.1 rpg, which makes it slightly easier to overlook the fact that he has turned the ball over 53 times and has but 19 assists.
Mitchell Young knocked down a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining to give Saint Mary's its first lead of the game, en route to a thrilling one- point win over the Harvard Crimson in non-conference play at McKeon Pavilion earlier this week. Mitchell finished the game with 16 points, all but two of which came in the second half for the Gaels as they logged their seventh win in the last eight games overall. Also scoring in double figures for the hosts were James Walker II with 12 points, followed by Stephen Holt and Beau Levesque with 10 apiece. Matthew Dellavedova, the leading scorer for the Gaels this season with 17.4 ppg, shot just 1-of-13 from the floor and finished with a mere four points, but did manage to hand out nine assists. Dellavedova, a 91.7 percent shooter at the free-throw line, now has 92 assists in 14 starts, many of which have set up Holt (11.2 ppg) and Brad Waldow (10.3 ppg) who have also combined to clear better than 11 rebounds per game for a team that is not only shooting 50.1 percent from the field but also 40.8 percent beyond the arc.
After getting that wake-up call from Harvard and having plenty of time to fix any problems they might have, expect to see the Gaels hitting all the right notes this weekend as they continue their dominance at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 74, Loyola Marymount 62
01/05 10:42:04 ET