Gonzaga Bulldogs, (15-3, 5-1) at Loyola Marymount Lions (10-9, 2-5)
Date: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Location: Gersten Pavilion
Time: 1:00 PM PST
Last Season: Gonzaga won both matchups
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Gonzaga, who is fresh off a blowout victory against Pepperdine for sole possession of first place in the WCC, will play Loyola Marymount in the second game of their Southern California road trip.
LMU is amidst a brutal 5-game losing streak, which has plummeted the LIons from first in the WCC to ninth.
The injury bug hit LMU even harder yesterday. Loyolan Sports reported that reserve guard Chase Flint fractured his elbow in the Lions loss to Portland yesterday and would be out for the season.
However the Lions need to bounce back in order to avoid falling to very bottom of the conference standings.
Keys to the Game
Score Some Points: In the past five games, the LMU offense has been putrid. The Lions are averaging 66.8 points during the span, which is not going to get it done in the WCC (unless spectacular defense is played, which the Lions don’t).
Gonzaga is not a team that the Lions can skate by while only scoring 66 or 67 points. The Bulldogs are 23rd in the country in points per game with 81.6, and second in field goal percentage at .512. The Lions need to score points in order to beat the Bulldogs, plain and simple.
Let Karnowski and Dower go to work: With Dower steadily creeping up to 100% health, Karnowski and Dower are now the primary faces of the Gonzaga frontcourt for the rest of the season, barring a setback. With these two both finally healthy, it is important to get them touches and get them used to playing each other again.
Look for Gonzaga’s guards to feed its two big men and attack one of the weakest and most inexperienced frontcourts in the conference.
Matchup of the Game
Anthony Ireland on offense versus Gonzaga’s guards on defense
Ireland is the most dynamic player in the conference, and it will be interesting to see which Gonzaga guard matches up with him.
Will it be David Stockton? Who is not a bad defender on the perimeter but has a tendency to let drivers get the rim with relative ease.
Will it be Kevin Pangos? Who is considered an average defender by WCC standards.
Will it be Kyle Dranginis? Who is much bigger than Ireland and can disrupt Ireland that way. However, the 6’6” guard will likely be busy coving the LMU forwards on Saturday.
Could it be a bench player like Gerard Coleman? Whose defense has improved drastically since the start of the season and possesses a long frame that could give Ireland fits.
Regardless of who guards him, this will be a great matchup that will be fun to watch.
Based on the two team’s recent performances, this is an easy one. LMU does not have the firepower to challenge the Zags at this time. Gonzaga 78, LMU 61.