Being the two remaining WCC teams who have not started conference play, the Loyola Marymount Lions and Pepperdine Waves face off on Monday, December 29 at 9:00 pm ET in Gersten Pavilion.
It’s been a tough first half of the season for new LMU head coach Mike Dunlap, as is usually the case for a first-year head honcho. The Lions recently ended their six-game losing streak with a victory over the DePaul Blue Demons.
Loyola Marymount enters conference play with a 4-8 record, landing them square in last place in the West Coast Conference. They’ve had some tough losses and faced some strong opponents, falling to quality foes such as Arizona State, Stanford, and Wichita State. Evan Payne stands as the leader of this squad, averaging 20.1 PPG with a .478 field goal percentage.
Though the Lions have a robust offensive weapon in Payne, the remainder of LMU’s lineup hasn’t matched his consistently impressive outputs.
Dec 13, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Pepperdine Waves forward Stacy Davis (5) drives to the basket against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half at Wells-Fargo Arena. Sun Devils defeated the Waves 81-74 Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Pepperdine, on the other hand, is holding onto a 7-4 record coming into conference play. Junior forward Stacy Davis is once again the face of this team, leading the Waves in points and rebounds with 15.6 PPG and 8.7 RPG. Their toughest loss came at the hands of Iowa, but they’ve also fallen to Arizona State, Richmond, and IUPUI.
Jett Raines has also turned out to be a valuable player for the Waves, averaging 10.7 PPG and 6.5 RPG. The forward out of Coppell, Texas has had some exceptional performances, most recently in Pepperdine’s win against Southern Alabama, where he was three rebounds shy of a double double.
The thing we should be most excited for, though, is the much-anticipated battle between Payne and Davis. Both of these stars serve invaluable roles on their teams and are premier players in the West Coast Conference. Expect to see a vigorous display of high-powered offense, energy, and athleticism from Davis and Payne throughout the matchup.