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Loyola Marymount (10-5) at Santa Clara (8-8)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 6 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,700) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: CSN-BAY, CA. Home Record: LMU 5-0, SCU 5-3. Away Record: LMU 2-3, SCU 2-4. Neutral Record: LMU 3-2, SCU 1-1. Conference Record: LMU 2-1, SCU 1-2. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 83-57.

GAME NOTES: The Lions of Loyola Marymount play the second of four straight road games today, as they tangle with the Santa Clara Broncos in West Coast Conference action at the Leavey Center.

LMU, which also has dates at San Diego and BYU on the schedule before hosting Portland on Jan. 16, is coming off a 75-61 loss at San Francisco on Thursday night. The defeat snapped what had been a four-game win streak for the Lions, all of the victories coming at home.

Meanwhile, the Broncos were also in action two nights ago, and they too came up short versus Pepperdine at home in a 70-61 final. The loss was the second in the last three outings for the program and dropped Santa Clara to 1-2 in league play.

The Broncos lead the all-time series by a count of 83-57, although LMU won the most recent meeting last March by a score of 60-58. The teams are scheduled to play at LMU in the next-to-last game of the regular season in late February as well.

LMU came out sluggish in the first half against the Dons, converting just six field goals on 21 attempts, digging itself a hole from which it would never crawl out of at Memorial Gym. Anthony Ireland tried to keep hope alive as he tallied 18 points, while Nick Stover tacked on 15 and Evan Payne 11 points in the losing cause. Beyond those three, no one else on the roster made more than a pair of field goals in the setback.

The only player for the Lions to score in double figures in every game, Ireland is pouring in 18.1 ppg as he makes good on 84.2 percent of his free throws. He is just 40.3 percent accurate from the floor however, and 29.5 percent beyond the arc. Ireland does counter his weak perimeter shooting by delivering 82 assists, more than twice as many as any one of his teammates.

A big part of the problem for the Broncos during their loss to Pepperdine at home a few nights back was the fact that the bench supplied a mere five points and did little else to help out the cause. Jared Brownridge led the starters with 18 points as he knocked down 4-of-7 shots behind the 3-point line, but that means the rest of the unit combined for just 1-of-11 out on the perimeter. Brandon Clark and Evan Roquemore pitched in with 16 and 13 points, respectively.

Clark and Brownridge are the only players to have started all 16 games for the Broncos, so it only makes sense that they lead the program in scoring with 16.5 and 15.1 ppg, respectively. Add in Roquemore with his 12.1 ppg and the trio accounts for the bulk of the squad's 72.2 ppg thanks to a collective 97 3-pointers made, which is more than all of the opposing teams combined. While the trio handles the action from long distance, Jerry Brown (8.3 ppg) does his best to lock down the interior with 6.6 rpg.

A one-man wrecking crew, Ireland is more than capable of taking over a game for the Lions and as long as he is able to get ample support from Payne, there's no reason to think the visitors can't pull this one out.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola Marymount 73, Santa Clara 68

01/04 10:37:50 ET

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