The LMU Lions defeated the San Deigo Toreros 65-62 at Gersten Pavilion on Monday night. Evan Payne led the Lions with 16 points, and Gabe Levin had 12 points and 8 rebounds. Alex Osborne scored 11 points, and Anthony Ireland had 10 points and 8 assissts.
San Diego was led as they always are by Johnny Dee, who scored 28 points on 11/17 shooting and 6/10 from beyond the arc. Duda Sandaze, coming off the bench, scored 18 points on 7/11 shooting and 2/6 from beyond the arc. Dennis Kramer scored 8 points and pulled down 7 rebounds, but no other player had more than 3 points for the Toreros.
San Diego got out to a quick 10-4 lead in the first 4 minutes of the game, and managed to fight off a LMU run to hold a 4 point halftime lead. The Toreros held a slim lead for most of the second half until Ben Dickinson put the Lions up by one with 5:26 left. The Lions got a clutch performance from Gabe Levin down the stretch to get a three point victory.
KEYS TO THE GAME REVISITED
X - Contain Dee: While the Lions let Dee go for 28 points and let Sandaze go for 18, they contained virtually everyone else who played for the Toreros. Most notably, Anthony Ireland held Christopher Anderson to 3 points on 1/7 shooting. So while Dee got going, it did not end up mattering as the Lions played well on both ends of the floor in the second half.
X - Bench Scoring: Yes, Duda Sandaze came off the bench and scored 18 points. But he has been a regular starter and I made that key to the game thinking he was going to start as he always has. When I said USD needed bench scoring, I was thinking of bench players other than Sandaze. Other than Sandade, the Toreros got only 2 bench points.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Assist to turnover ratio: That was really the deciding team stat of this game. San Diego has 15 assists and 14 turnovers (Dee and Kramer combined for 0 assists and 10 turnovers, Anderson had 12 assists and 1 turnover), while LMU had 19 assists and only 9 turnovers. So while it was really just two players turning the ball over for USD, those turnovers proved to be very costly in a close game down the stretch.
San Diego needs more scoring help. This is where they miss guys like Ken Rancifer and Chris Manresa. Those players weren’t great, but you could count on 8-10 points per game from them. Johnny Dee can’t do everything. The Toreros are in serious trouble until other players can pick up the scoring load.
Loyola Marymount has so many more scoring options than they did last season. Evan Payne and Gabe Levin have emerged as good scoring options as newcomers. There’s a reason Anthony Ireland’s assist number are up from last season. He has more talent around him, and the Lions are trying to prove that the 2011-12 season was not a fluke, when they went 11-5 in league play.