#3 Gonzaga Looks to Recover at Loyola Marymount


A trip to visit the struggling Loyola Marymount Lions couldn’t come at a better time for #3 Gonzaga. After being pushed to the limit and struggling in a close win at Pepperdine on Thursday, the Bulldogs should enjoy an easy win over the Lions to finish off their Southern California visit.

With not much of an inside presence, this one could very ugly fast. The Waves have very strong inside players in Stacy Davis and others, and they defend the long range jumper very well. This is why they kept Gonzaga on the ropes the entire night. Loyola Marymount on the other hand does not have those advantages.

Jan 10, 2015; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) goes up for a shot against Santa Clara forward Dominic Romeo (42) during the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs won 79-57. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions have some decent inside players like Marin Mornar, but they are dwarfed in size and talent by Gonzaga. If LMU could limit even on Gonzaga big man they would be happy. And they certainly can’t limit everyone. Kyle Wiltjer should have a monster game, as should Przemek Karnowski. The rebounding battle should be very lopsided in favor of Gonzaga.

More from West Coast Convo

On the outside, Evan Payne carries the Lions and is one of the best scoring guards in the conference. Others like Ayodeji Egbeyemi have done a great job lately of taking some pressure off him, but the talent advantage of Gonzaga may cause a lot of guys to have off nights forcing Payne to carry the team. He’s up to the task, but he’s just not enough by himself for the Lions to win many games.

Kevin Pangos and Bryon Wesley should have easy nights putting up points and shutting down any threats outside of Payne. They will be happy to let Payne put up numbers while everyone around him struggles. And that’s probably how this game will go. It’s just a really tough mismatch for the Lions to try and survive, and they just can’t stop every guy they need to in order to have a chance. The Lions are showing great improvement highlighted by their recent win over Portland, but they don’t have the firepower to pull off the miracle in this one.