LMU Lions Look to Ride Momentum Against Toreros


Dec 22, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Loyola Marymount guard Evan Payne (1) drives at Wichita State guard Tekele Cotton (32) during the first half of the NCAA college basketball game at the Stan Sheriff Center. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

After notching a thrilling overtime victory against the Pacific Tigers last week, the Loyola Marymount Lions are back in Los Angeles to host the San Diego Toreros on Thursday at 10:00 pm ET.

LMU stormed back against Pacific last Saturday to pick up a confidence-building overtime win in Stockton, California. Four players scored in double figures for the Lions, led by Marin Mornar, who managed a double-double, scoring 23 points to go with 11 rebounds.

Many of LMU’s shortcomings this season have been due to the lack of a balanced team effort. Far too often, standout guard Evan Payne would lead the way for the Lions in virtually every category, with the remaining cast failing to match his productivity. But as the season has progressed, Loyola Marymount has began to work as a team and develop a sense of comfortability on the court.

Though their conference record stands at a discouraging 3-8, the Lions have shown some serious signs of improvement in their past few games. They’re beginning to share the ball, make their shots more consistently, and function as a unit. The team-effort has been uplifting and reminds us of the potential that this team holds – two or three years down the road from now, Mike Dunlap may have himself an exemplary program at Loyola Marymount.

San Diego, on the other hand, is sitting directly in the middle of the standings in the West Coast Conference. The Toreros have been hot as of late, riding a three-game winning streak into Thursday’s game.

Undoubtedly their most impressive conference win this season came in late January, when they defeated the BYU Cougars on their home court in what was a nail-biting matchup. That victory has strongly boosted San Diego’s confidence, as they followed it with two more convincing wins over Santa Clara and San Francisco.

Johnny Dee continues to be his usual jaw-dropping self, but the Toreros have also been getting plenty of contributions from other key players, such as Thomas Jacobs, Duda Sanadze, and Dee’s fellow backcourt sniper, Christopher Anderson.

There’s no question that it’s going to be tough for the Lions to put a stop to San Diego’s win streak and recent skyrocketing confidence. LMU has to continue that unselfish and upbeat style of play if they want any hopes of thumping the Toreros.