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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 7, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chiles Center (4,852) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: CSN-NW. Home Record: LMU 5-6, Portland 6-6. Away Record: LMU 2-7, Portland 1-9. Neutral Record: LMU 1-1, Portland 1-1. Conference Record: LMU 1-8, Portland 1-8. Series Record: Loyola Marymount leads, 46-41.
GAME NOTES: Two teams tied for last place in the West Coast Conference standings get together in Portland on Thursday night, as the hometown Pilots play host to the Lions of Loyola Marymount.
LMU was just in action three nights ago against San Diego and had a chance to come out on top for the first time in several weeks, but the Lions instead came up short in a 69-68 overtime decision with the game-winning shot being converted with just 0.2 seconds remaining in the bonus session. The defeat was the sixth in a row and the eighth in nine games for an LMU squad that has a record of just 1-8 in conference play.
Matching the league mark of the Lions is Portland, which is suffering with a similar six-game slide at the moment. The Pilots were last in action last Saturday when they were blown out by the Saint Mary's Gaels by a score of 77-42.
The Lions lead the all-time series between these two programs, 46-41, although the Pilots are the ones who claimed victory in the first meeting of the season last month, 68-64, in Los Angeles.
In a game that featured 15 ties and 19 lead changes, the Lions could have easily won the meeting with San Diego at home on Monday night if only they had made some late free throws and played tougher defense in the waning moments. Ayodeji Egbeyemi and Anthony Ireland both tallied 17 points, the former adding 11 rebounds, while Ashley Hamilton recorded a double-double of his own with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, not to mention five assists in the setback. Although he is shooting just 37.1 percent from the floor in conference games, Ireland is by far the most reliable performer on offense for the Lions with 17.6 ppg, not to mention the one with the best hands with his 30 assists and 17 steals. Hamilton (13.1 ppg) is tied with Egbeyemi (10.3 ppg) on the glass with 5.9 rpg.
For the sixth time in the last nine outings the Pilots were held to 50 points or less as they were crushed by Saint Mary's over the weekend in Moraga. Portland converted just 15 field goals as it turned the ball over 20 times and never led in the game. Thomas van der Mars was the only player to reach double figures for the hosts, as he connected on 4-of-7 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the free-throw line, en route to 13 points. Strangely, even though the Pilots trailed the entire way, they still attempted just four shots from 3-point range. With an average of only three 3-point baskets over nine conference games, it is clear that the Pilots don't consider themselves a perimeter threat, but still the team could have made an effort to at least appear to be actively trying to fight back. Portland is scoring just 53.2 ppg in league play, with Ryan Nicholas leading the way with 11.8 ppg.
Shooting just 28.4 percent beyond the arc in conference games, the Pilots don't scare many opponents with their perimeter efforts and because of that Portland has a tough time playing from behind. Expect that to be the case again on Thursday versus LMU.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola Marymount 66, Portland 59
02/07 10:31:48 ET