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Loyola Marymount (8-9) at San Diego (10-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jenny Craig Pavilion (5,100) -- San Diego, California. Television: TWCSN. Home Record: LMU 5-3, USD 7-2. Away Record: LMU 2-5, USD 3-4. Neutral Record: LMU 1-1, USD 0-2. Conference Record: LMU 1-3, USD 3-0. Series Record: Loyola Marymount leads, 43-41.
GAME NOTES: The surprising San Diego Toreros try to keep their West Coast Conference record perfect, as they entertain the Loyola Marymount Lions in league play at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Wednesday night.
A streaky team to say the least, San Diego has already had a pair of three- game slides, but also had two runs of at least three straight wins as well. Over the weekend, the Toreros delivered a 62-50 win over Pepperdine on the road to extend their current win streak to four in a row overall and remain undefeated in conference at 3-0.
As for the Lions, they seem to be moving in the opposite direction of USD, losing three of their last four decisions to fall a game under .500 overall on the campaign. Saturday saw the team host Portland and come up short in a 68-64 final, dropping LMU to 1-3 in league action.
LMU leads the all-time series between the squads by a count of 43-41, although the Toreros won the most recent meeting last season on the road by a 60-57 score.
Perhaps most discouraging about the latest loss for the Lions is that the team led by 11 points early in the second half and then just fell apart on offense, shooting a mere 32.0 percent from the floor, including 3-of-11 behind the 3- point line. Holding up his end was Anthony Ireland who tallied 22 points, adding four rebounds and four assists, followed by Ashley Hamilton and Bruce English with 17 and 11 points, respectively, for a squad that was overwhelmed on the glass, 43-19. Through the first four conference games of the season, LMU is shooting only 38.7 percent from the floor, leading to just 65.0 ppg, compared to 78.5 ppg for the competition. Ireland is posting 19.0 ppg and has handed out 17 assists in conference, while Hamilton accounts for another 16.3 ppg and is tied for the team lead with 4.8 rpg, but still this is a group that is being crushed on the glass by an average of 17.3 rpg right now.
Aside from Johnny Dee and Ken Rancifer who posted 17 and 16 points, respectively, for the Toreros, the offense for the visitors wasn't all that potent. In fact, the remaining players who saw action for USD combined for only 29 points and also accounted for 12 turnovers. The win over Pepperdine really came courtesy of the defense which held the Waves to only 18 made field goals, matching their turnover total, as well as a mere 1-of-10 effort beyond the arc. Through the first three conference games, San Diego has held the opposition to just 55.3 ppg. The effort out on the perimeter has been exceptional, causing foes to shoot only 11-of-48 (.229) beyond the arc. From an offensive standpoint, Dee is good for 14.0 ppg, thanks in large part to his 92.9 percent accuracy at the charity stripe, followed by Rancifer with 11.0 ppg.
If the Lions don't find a fix for their rebounding woes the wins will not be as forthcoming in conference play, and that could be the case in this meeting if Dee and Rancifer get some additional help on offense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Diego 67, Loyola Marymount 64
01/16 10:34:53 ET
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