Loyola Marymount (10-4) at San Francisco (8-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: War Memorial Gym (5,300) -- San Francisco, California. Television: None. Home Record: LMU 5-0, USF 6-3. Away Record: LMU 2-2, USF 2-3. Neutral Record: LMU 3-2, USF 0-0. Conference Record: LMU 2-0, USF 1-1. Series Record: San Francisco leads, 107-39.
GAME NOTES: The Loyola Marymount Lions will try to stay hot when they meet up with the San Francisco Dons in a West Coast Conference clash at War Memorial Gym.
LMU escaped with a 65-62 victory over San Diego on Monday to earn its fourth straight victory. The Lions' winning streak has pushed them to 10-4 overall, which includes a 2-0 record in league play. They will be back in action against Santa Clara on Saturday in the second leg of a four-game road trip.
The Dons are still licking their wounds after a 61-49 loss to No. 24 Gonzaga on Monday. The setback ended a two-game win streak for San Francisco, which included an 87-81 win over Portland in its league opener. The Dons are a more pedestrian 8-6 overall. They host Pepperdine on Saturday.
Anthony Ireland scored 16 points to lead LMU to a 61-60 win over USF in overtime during the WCC Tournament last year. However, the Dons won both matchups in the regular season and lead the all-time series by a commanding 107-39 margin.
In their recent win over San Diego, the Lions scored 19 points off turnovers, while committing only nine miscues themselves. They also shot 51.9 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes, while claiming an 11-4 edge in points from the free-throw line.
Ireland (18.1 ppg, 5.7 apg) continues to pace the offensive attack for LMU, although he had a season-low 10 points against San Diego. He has scored at least 20 points in seven games this season and has been in double figures in each contest. Evan Payne (15.1 ppg) serves as the club's second scoring option, teaming with Ireland in the backcourt. Gabe Levin (12.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg) heads up the frontcourt with four double-doubles on the season. Ben Dickinson (9.9 ppg) hits on 57 percent of his shots from the floor to give the Lions even more options.
San Francisco had very little success at the offensive end of the court in the loss to Gonzaga earlier this week. The Dons only connected on 25.5 percent of their attempts from the floor, while turning in a 7-of-17 effort at the foul line. Avry Holmes scored 16 points as the only player to finish in double figures.
Even without point guard Cody Doolin (13 ppg, 7 apg), who has left the team for personal reasons, the Dons have still managed to score at healthy 79.1 ppg while shooting 49.3 percent from the floor, ranking second in the WCC and 19th nationally in field goal percentage. Cole Dickerson (13.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg) stands in as the leading scorer, as well as the top performer on the glass. Mark Tollefsen (12.4 ppg) is a solid scorer in his own right, and Holmes (10.3 ppg) has netted at least 15 points in each of the last three games. Kruize Pinkins (11.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is a nice option off the bench.
Returning home where they are 6-3 this season, the Dons should be able to find the shooting touch they lacked against Gonzaga.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Francisco 82, Loyola Marymount 79
01/02 10:34:51 ET