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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 25, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: CSN-BAY, CA, ROOT-NW. Home Record: LMU 5-2, SMC 12-1. Away Record: LMU 3-6, SMC 2-2. Neutral Record: LMU 3-2, SMC 0-2. Conference Record: LMU 3-6, SMC 5-2. Series Record: Saint Mary's leads, 81-54.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Mary's Gaels will attempt to close out a six-game homestand on a high note, as they welcome the Loyola Marymount Lions to McKeon Pavilion for a West Coast Conference clash on Saturday.
LMU finally put an end to a lengthy losing streak, which reached six games before the Lions defeated Pacific on Thursday, 92-81. The Lions are now 11-10 overall, although they still have work to do in conference play (3-6) if they hope to contend down the stretch. They will conclude a three-game road trip next Saturday against Pepperdine.
Saint Mary's, which is 12-1 at McKeon Pavilion this season, has earned victories in five of its last six games, including an 80-74 triumph over Pepperdine on Thursday. The Gaels are 14-5 overall and have a solid 5-2 ledger against the WCC. They take off for a four-game road trip next, beginning at San Diego.
The Gaels have won 13 of the last 14 meetings with the Lions, including a season sweep last year, to push even further ahead in the all-time series (81-54).
Evan Payne scored 25 points and Anthony Ireland finished with 24 points and eight assists in LMU's victory over Pacific. The Lions connected on 60.7 percent of their shots from the floor, including a perfect 5-of-5 showing from 3-point range, over the final 20 minutes to break a 32-32 tie at halftime.
Ireland (18.8 ppg, 5.7 apg) and Payne (14.9 ppg) are a formidable duo in the backcourt, as each can carry the offense for long stretches, if not for entire games. Ireland is second in the WCC in scoring and steals and he leads the league in assists. Payne shoots at a 43.5 percent clip, which is the top mark among the Lions' trio of double-digit scorers, which includes Gabe Levin (10.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, who only hits on 39.4 percent from the field. Levin managed 12 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and four assists on Thursday, but he only made 3-of-11 shots from the floor.
Brad Waldow netted 21 points to go with 13 rebounds and Stephen Holt tacked on 20 points in Saint Mary's win over Pepperdine. The Gaels held a 41-34 advantage on the boards and outscored the Waves at the free-throw line, 26-17.
The Gaels are a team that relies heavily on its starting lineup, while getting very little from the bench. All five starters are averaging in double figures, led by Waldow (16.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Holt (14.4 ppg, 4.9 apg). Waldow gets his work done in the paint, where he is shooting 59.6 percent, while Holt runs the point and ranks fourth in the league in assists. Filling out the lineup are Beau Levesque (11.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg), who had 13 points on Thursday, James Walker III (10.8 ppg) and Kerry Carter (10.2 ppg), who tallied 18 points against Pepperdine.
Holt and Waldow form a solid inside-outside combination that should give the Lions fits, especially in a hostile environment like that inside McKeon Pavilion.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's 78, Loyola Marymount 70
01/25 10:15:06 ET
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