Loyola Marymount vs. UC Riverside Preview


Loyola Marymount Lions vs. UC Riverside Highlanders

Wednesday, November 26

Gersten Pavilion

8:00 p.m. ET


The Loyola Marymount Lions are looking for their second straight victory after defeating San Diego Christian College last Sunday.

They’ll face up against the UC Riverside Highlanders, who posses a 2-2 record to start out the season. The Highlanders’ roster is largely composed of experienced upperclassmen who are looking to finish their collegiate career on a positive note.

Junior guard Jaylen Bland is leading UC Riverside in scoring, averaging 14.5 PPG on .486 field goal shooting. Junior forward Taylor Johns is averaging 11.8 PPG as well as grabbing 7.0 rebounds per contest.

UCR’s most publicized game against the University of Utah didn’t exactly pan out how the Highlanders had hoped. They were handed a 88-42 whooping from the Utes; at one point they even gave up seven turnovers in only seven minutes of play, which speaks volumes to Utah’s defense.

Nick Gruninger led UCR with 14 point against Utah, while Charles Standifer and Robert Boezeman contributed seven points each.

Loyola Marymount, much like that of UC Riverside, is also recovering from a recent loss against the Pac-12. LMU was taken down by the Arizona State Sun Devils by a final score of 68-44. ASU’s relentless defensive effort completely shut down the Lions’ offensive output. Even team leaders such as Evan Payne, Godwin Okonji, and David Humphries were left without an answer to the Sun Devils’ efforts.

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However, if LMU plans to pick up its fifth win of the season, they’re going to need to replicate the outstanding defensive performance that Arizona State presented them with. And here’s why: Taylor Johns, who was UC Riverside’s leading scorer entering the game against Utah, went a measly 1-for-11 from the field against the Utes, contributing a fraction of what his normal outputs entail. This disappointing performance should be a focal point of Coach Dunlap’s plans heading into this game – LMU needs to be sure that Johns is being relentlessly defended throughout the matchup.

Shutting down Johns and Jaylen Bland on the defensive end will be key for the Lions in this matchup. These two guys know how to score, but without their contributions, the Highlanders’ offense takes a big hit.

Even more, we should expect to see a strong performance from Patson Siame for the Lions. Standing at 6’11”, no one on UCR’s roster can match his size. His height will be a significant factor for LMU, as he is set up perfectly for a big night on the boards. If Siame doesn’t score a single point on the night but manages to dominate the glass and pull down double digit rebounds, that in and of itself could be enough to propel Loyola Marymount to a victory.