San Francisco (19-10, 12-5) at Loyola Marymount (12-17, 4-13)
Date: Saturday, March 1st, 2014
Location: Gersten Pavilion, Los Angeles, Calif.
Time: 7:00 PM PST
This Season: The Dons knocked off LMU 75-61 in the emerald city.
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With only seven scholarship players available, the LMU Lions outplayed the Santa Clara Broncos Thursday night en route to a 75-71. Lions guards Anthony Ireland and Evan Payne combined to score 47 points and dominant a relatively strong Bronco backcourt.
San Francisco has faced a great deal of adversity – just like Loyola Marymount – but things have transpired a tad differently for the Dons. USF is currently tied for second place in the conference standings with BYU after whooping Pepperdine 77-53 on Thursday night in Malibu.
LMU has a chance to emerge out of the WCC standings basement with a win and some help from Pepperdine and Portland.
Alternatively, a BYU loss on Saturday against San Diego and a San Francisco win against LMU would put the Dons in second place to end the season.
Although this game pits two teams in two very different situations, it is still an important one for each team that will make for a great game.
Keys to the Game
Pound the Rock
Although “pound the rock” is a figure of speech often used in football, the Dons have a distinct advantage in the post that they must expose. Kruize Pinkins, Cole Dickerson and Mark Tollefsen are tough to defend due to their physicality and versatility. If this trio has a field day, it will be a reach for the Lions to upset San Francisco tomorrow night.
Ireland on Senior Night
This will be the last game Anthony Ireland will ever play in Gersten Pavilion. In his college basketball career thus far, Ireland has played 4538 minutes, scored 2,123 points, dished out 539 assists, grabbed 507 rebounds and has recorded 195 steals. He has never missed a game, nor has he missed a practice reportedly. He has been named to the All-WCC team twice during his sophomore and junior years and was named to the All-WCC freshman team his first year at LMU. These gaudy numbers and accomplishments are a direct testament to Ireland’s amazing career that is unfortunately about to come to an end. The Lions still have two games guaranteed moving forward, but Gersten Pavilion likely serves as Ireland’s sanctuary; the place where he built his greatness.
In Ireland’s last game as a Lion, he must carry the load in order to lead them to victory on senior night. San Francisco will most likely put Matt Glover on Ireland, a physical defender that is known as San Francisco lock-down perimeter defender. Ireland must play to his strengths, which means reading the defense and picking the best possible option to put the ball in the bucket – whether that is by passing or scoring.
Loyola Marymount was awfully impressive on Thursday night by showing their mental toughness and resiliency with a severely depleted roster. However, USF is a different animal compared to Santa Clara with a ton more weapons on the offensive end of the floor. San Francisco 75, LMU 65.