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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mott Gymnasium (3,032) -- San Luis Obispo, California. Television: None. Home Record: LMU 5-8, Cal Poly 10-1. Away Record: LMU 2-9, Cal Poly 2-11. Neutral Record: LMU 1-2, Cal Poly 0-0. Conference Record: LMU 1-13, Cal Poly 8-6. Series Record: Loyola Marymount leads, 5-3.
GAMES NOTES: As part of BracketBusters weekend the Loyola Marymount Lions will take a break from West Coast Conference action to visit the Cal Poly Mustangs at Mott Gymnasium.
Time away from league play may be just what the Lions need as they come into this game on a 11-game losing streak. LMU is just 8-19 overall but league play has really damaged its prospects as the Lions have just a single win in 14 tries against WCC teams. The Lions will get back to league play next at Santa Clara before wrapping up the regular season at home against BYU.
Cal Poly had won three straight games before a 77-60 humbling setback against Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday. The Mustangs are an even 12-12 overall this season, while holding an 8-6 mark in Big West contests. The Mustangs have a convincing homecourt advantage this year with 10 wins in 11 tries at Mott Gym. Up next the Mustangs head out to face Cal State Northridge and Hawaii on the road.
In eight previous meetings Loyola Marymount has come out on top five times against Cal Poly, including a 67-48 in the last meeting during the 2010-11 season.
A buzzer-beating layup from San Francisco's Cody Doolin sank Loyola Marymount in a 61-59 loss last time out. The Lions trailed 40-25 at halftime but rallied behind 19 points off turnovers in the final 20 minutes, but the comeback attempt came up short.
In the losing effort Anthony Ireland (20.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.7 apg) once again reached the 20-point plateau. By scoring 21 points the 5-foot-10 guard has now reached 20 points in 13 games this season. Ashley Hamilton (13.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Ayodeji Egbeyemi (10.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) are also scoring in double figures for the Lions, though both shoot below 42 percent from the field. There isn't much offensive punch from there with no other regular contributor putting in more than 5.5 points per game. As a team LMU is last in the WCC in both assists (11.1 pg) and field-goal percentage (.402), while scoring 66 points per game.
Leading scorer Chris Eversley missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle in Cal Poly's loss to Cal State Fullerton. With Eversley out, the Mustangs shot just 39 percent from the field in the 17-point loss. Chris O'Brien scored 13 points off the bench as the lead scorer for the Mustangs.
Eversley (15.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg) not only tops the Mustangs in scoring but in rebounding as well. His efforts would again be sorely missed in this bout as the 6-foot-7 forward is still listed as questionable. No other player on the roster is scoring in double figures nor bringing in more than five rebounds per game. Dylan Royer (9.8 ppg) and Brian Bennett (9.4 ppg) are the top remaining scorers for the Mustangs, but neither has been called upon to carry the offensive load much this season. The Mustangs are also at the bottom of their conference in field-goal percentage (.415), scoring just 65.7 points per game.
The outcome of this contest could very well hinge on whether or not Eversley is healthy enough to go. Without him the Mustangs don't have enough offensive firepower, even against Loyola Marymount, to secure a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola Marymount 64, Cal Poly 62
02/23 10:45:29 ET