Cal Poly (4-5) at Loyola Marymount (6-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 17, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gersten Pavilion (4,156) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: Local. Home Record: Cal Poly 3-1, LMU 1-0. Away Record: Cal Poly 0-3, LMU 2-2. Neutral Record: Cal Poly 1-1, LMU 3-2. Conference Record: Cal Poly 0-0, LMU 0-0. Series Record: Loyola Marymount leads, 5-4.
GAME NOTES: The Cal Poly Mustangs again shoot for their first true road win of the season, as the challenge the Lions of Loyola Marymount in non-conference play at Gersten Pavilion.
The Mustangs are currently enjoying a two-game win streak for the second time this season. The squad posted a 64-53 win over Santa Clara on Dec. 7 at home, and followed that up a week later with an 85-49 romp over Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Meanwhile, the Lions are kicking off a four-game home stand with this meeting and are hoping to use the outing to snap a two-game slide. Over the weekend, Loyola Marymount suffered an 80-73 loss to Valparaiso on the road, the third loss in four outings for a program that opened the campaign with four straight victories.
The Lions lead the all-time series by a count of 5-4, although Cal Poly won the most recent meeting last season by a score of 63-60, thanks to a 3-pointer by Dylan Royer with 0.7 seconds remaining at Mott Gym.
The Mustangs dominated Cal State Dominguez Hills, limiting the visitors to only 18 total field goals and forcing 21 turnovers, not to mention crushing the squad on the glass by a 43-22 margin. Cal Poly, which knocked down 12- of-24 shots behind the 3-point line, had almost as many offensive rebounds (18) as the visitors had total boards. Dave Nwaba led four players in double figures with his game-high 22 points, followed by Taylor Sutlive and Kyle Odister with 14 points apiece and Chris Eversley 10 and six boards.
Although he plays just 21.7 minutes per game, the fewest of any regular starter for the Mustangs, Nwaba is still the leading scorer overall for the group with his 13.0 ppg. Nwaba is shooting an impressive 66.2 percent from the floor and is smart enough to know that even attempting a single shot from 3- point range is not in his best interest. Eversley checks in with 12.4 ppg and is the biggest threat on the glass with better than eight rebounds per game but, unlike Nwaba, he has ventured out to the perimeter on offense where he has made just 28.2 percent of his chances.
Against Valpo on the road, the Lions appeared to be well on their way to a victory over the weekend, holding the Crusaders to just eight field goals in the first half in order to forge a double-digit lead at the break. However, the final 20 minutes saw a huge momentum swing as Valpo knocked down not only 56.5 percent from the floor but also outscore LMU at the free-throw line, 21-9. Anthony Ireland was responsible for 18 points and eight assists, but shot just 6-of-18 from the field, while Evan Payne and Gabe Levin chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Ireland has led the team in scoring in seven straight games and eight times overall, resulting in his 18.9 ppg, but he is shooting only 39.6 percent from the field overall and 28.9 percent beyond the arc at this stage. However, he has tried to make up for those shortcomings by pulling down close to four rebounds per game and handing out 5.4 apg, accounting for a huge portion of the unit's 126 dishes. Levin and Payne check in with 12.7 ppg for a squad that is producing 77.9 ppg, but hitting on a mere 27.3 percent from the perimeter.
The Lions have revenge as a motivating factor in this meeting after losing to Cal Poly last season in heart-breaking fashion, and as long as Ireland doesn't shoot too poorly LMU should be able to fulfill that need tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola Marymount 74, Cal Poly 66
12/17 10:32:54 ET