Loyola Marymount (5-1) vs. Vanderbilt (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 25, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sports and Fitness Center (4,000) -- St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Television: None. Home Record: Loyola Marymount 1-0, Vanderbilt 2-0. Away Record: Loyola Marymount 1-0, Vanderbilt 0-1. Neutral Record: Loyola Marymount 3-1, Vanderbilt 1-1. Conference Record: Loyola Marymount 0-0, Vanderbilt 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAMES NOTES: The Loyola Marymount Lions and the Vanderbilt Commodores will decide the fourth-place finisher in the Paradise Jam when they meet up at the Sports and Fitness Center in St. Thomas on Monday.
On Saturday Loyola rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 76-70 triumph over Marist to reach this portion of the tournament. The Lions were downed, 90-81 by Northern Iowa in their first matchup of the event, with that loss ending a four-game win streak that started the season.
As for Vanderbilt, it put an end to a two-game slide on Saturday with a 75-66 win over Morgan State. The Commodores allowed a 27-4 run to Providence in the final 10 minutes to give up the decision in their first-round matchup. Vanderbilt owns a 3-2 overall mark on the year.
When these teams face off on Monday it will be for the first time ever.
Loyola erased a 13-point deficit in the first half to collect its win over Marist. The Lions hit an even 50 percent of their shots from the field in the contest, while holding the Red Foxes under 40 percent. Anthony Ireland poured in a game-high 25 points and handed out five assists in the victory.
Ireland's efforts in the early going have been the difference for the Lions. The 5-foot-10 guard is leading the Lions in both scoring (19.2 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg), despite shooting just a shade over 40 percent from the field. Ireland has scored at least 20 points in three games on the year. Ireland is surrounded by a trio of double-figure scorers. Gabe Levin (13.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg) anchors down low, with help from Ben Dickinson (11.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg). Evan Payne (13.0 ppg) is another solid scorer, making his presence felt as a reserve. In all, the Lions are scoring an impressive 82.8 points per game but they're scoring margin has been rather slim (+3.7).
Five different players scored in double figures and the Commodores owned the interior, outscoring Morgan State, 42-30, in the paint for their win on Saturday. Vanderbilt's depth helped in the victory as its reserves scored 35 points to just 11 from the Morgan State bench.
Even though it has a positive scoring margin on the season (+2.2), Vanderbilt hasn't been beating teams as decidedly as it should. The issue has been in ball security as the Commodores are turning the ball over 14 times per game, while forcing only 10 takeaways. That has wasted some strong scoring efforts from Eric McClellan (17 ppg) and Rod Odom (15.2 ppg). McClellan had 12 points and five assists against Morgan State, but also turned the ball over six times. Odom had 11 points but only secured two rebounds in the win. Providing additional scoring depth for the Commodores are Kyle Fuller (10.2 ppg) and Damian Jones (10.2 ppg), who have been used primarily in reserve roles.
With Ireland on their side the Lions have a dangerous offensive weapon that will allow them to keep pace with the Commodores, who are by no means a potent offensive bunch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola Marymount 80, Vanderbilt 77
11/25 10:33:47 ET