- Time: 10 PM ET/ 7 PM PT
- Where: SRC Arena in Riverside, California
- Watch: BigWest.tv
- Listen: 88.9 KXLU
While the Paradise Jam may be over for the LMU Lions, walking away with 6th place and a 5-2 record, the road trip is still going on. Tomorrow night, the Lions are going to travel to Riverside, Calif., a stone’s throw away from the Lions’ home of Los Angeles. God knows that this road trip is a killer, as the Lions won’t return home again until December 17th, playing 3 more road games before then.
Tomorrow’s game against UC Riverside looks to be perhaps the easiest match-up of the season for LMU. The Highlanders are 2-3 on the season and fresh off of a loss against Seattle U. Both of the Highlanders’ two wins this season have come against weak teams, Montana State and Southern Utah, both of which are far under .500. Riverside seems to have a hard time scoring the ball, and are usually at the mercy of the pace of their opponent, which is great news for the up-tempo style that the Lions run. LMU has shown through experience that they are able to defeat opponents who are weak offensively, as they were able to beat Marist earlier this year, a team that up to that point was lucky to score fifty points in a game.
LMU will need to be an aggressive team tomorrow on both sides of the ball. Offensively speaking, the Lions must constantly work to push the tempo against this Highlander team. LMU is averaging about 62 shots per game, a stark contrast to UC Riverside’s 54 shots per game. LMU’s players are not afraid to take shots-and lots of them. That’s one of the main reasons that the scoring is so spread out among the Lions, with four players averaging at least ten points per game. When a Lions player puts their hands on the ball, they are prepared to shoot and do whatever they can to score and keep pushing the tempo of the ballgame.
Defensively, the Lions will also need to be on their usual game. The Lions are a team that presses relentlessly, causing much hair-pulling on the opposing team’s sideline. The Lions are averaging about 8 steals per game, and are very good at capitalizing on turnovers due to the quickness of the Lions’ guards. LMU is very talented at scoring on the fast break, something that can wreak havoc on an opponent who isn’t as fast and simply cannot keep up. The Lions also need to work to guard the trio of UC Riverside forwards Taylor Johns, Chris Patton, and Steven Thornton, each of which averages over 11 points per game. Johns especially will be a key assignment for LMU big men, as he is not only the Highlanders’ best scorer, but he shoots with extreme efficiency (60%).
Overall, I fully expect for LMU to head into Riverside, California, and come out with a win, and it could very well be an ugly one. The Highlanders turn it over often, and I expect that to be their downfall. Expect one of either Ireland or Payne, if not both, to score at least 20 points tomorrow.
Prediction: LMU 85, UCR 69
I also saw one noteworthy statistic earlier on LMULions.com:
ON THE ROAD
Miles traveled in non-conference:
LMU to San Diego: 250
LMU to Long Beach St.: 44
Virgin Islands Paradise Jam: 7,543
LMU to UC Riverside: 144
LMU to Pittsburgh: 4,298
LMU to Valparaiso: 3,564