GAME NOTES: The Gonzaga Bulldogs will play their final game at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday when they host the Loyola Marymount Lions for a West Coast Conference matchup.
The Lions will be playing their final true road game of the season after falling to Portland on Thursday, 71-64, to drop to a 3-11 WCC record. LMU has lost its last five games overall and gone 1-7 away from home in conference games. Coach Max Good's team would need to win its four remaining regular season games to enter the conference tournament with a .500 record. LMU's lack of success this season is partially due to its inability to get stops on the defensive end. The Lions are ranked second to last in the WCC in scoring defense (77.9 ppg) and are just sixth in scoring offense (74.3 ppg).
Gonzaga will be looking to clinch its 10th perfect home record in the school's Division I history on Saturday after defeating the first 14 visitors to the McCarthey Athletic Center. Coach Mark Few's team notched its 14th home win on Thursday as it coasted to an 83-68 triumph over Pepperdine. The victory improved the Bulldogs to a 22-4 overall record and helped them keep a three- game lead over Saint Mary's for first place in the WCC race. Gonzaga has been dominant in league play, outscoring its conference foes by an average of 11.8 ppg.
The Bulldogs defeated LMU, 82-72, when these schools met in Los Angeles on Jan. 18. The win improved Gonzaga to a 62-21 all-time record versus the Lions, who have not defeated the Bulldogs on the road since 1992.
Senior point guard Anthony Ireland continued to thrive as LMU's leader in Portland on Thursday. Playing in his school record 126th career game, the 5- foot-10 guard tallied 15 points, five rebounds and six assists. In the process, Ireland became the only Lion in the program's history with at least 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 150 steals in a career. He is also the only active Division I player to have hit all those milestones. Evan Payne stepped up his play to net a game-high 21 points versus the Pilots and Alex Osborne chipped in 10 points. On the campaign, Ireland is averaging 18.4 ppg and 5.5 rpg, while Payne is second on the squad with 15 ppg. Freshman forward Gabe Levin adds 11 ppg and a team-high 7.3 rpg.
Gonzaga's backcourt duo of David Stockton and Kevin Pangos powered the team to the victory over the Waves with 18 points apiece. Stockton, who will be playing his final home game on Saturday, also handed out a game-high five assists as the Bulldogs picked up their 24th consecutive win at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Przemek Karnowski contributed 17 points and seven rebounds, while Gary Bell, Jr. added 11 points and seven boards. On the campaign, Pangos (15.1 ppg, 4.1 apg), Sam Dower (14.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Bell (11.4 ppg) and Karnowski (10.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg) have been regularly featured in the Zags' attack and four others tally between 6.3 and 7.6 ppg.
Gonzaga is usually too much to handle for its WCC opposition due to its elite outside shooting ability. The Bulldogs knock down 40 percent of their 3-point field goal attempts and hold their opponents to just 32.6 percent efficiency from beyond the arc. LMU is one of the weakest teams in the WCC defensively, so it will need to submit an unbelievable offensive performance to end the Bulldogs' home-winning streak.
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