Pepperdine (14-13) at Loyola Marymount (11-16)

The Sports NetworkFebruary 20, 2014 

GAME NOTES: The Loyola Marymount Lions will try to salvage what's left of the season when they begin a three-game homestand against the Pepperdine Waves on Thursday night.

With just three games left on the schedule, LMU doesn't have enough time to get back into the West Coast Conference title chase, or the postseason picture for that matter. The Lions have lost six straight games and are just 11-16 overall, which includes a 3-12 league ledger, which puts them in last place. Home bouts against Santa Clara and San Francisco will end the regular season.

Pepperdine hasn't been particularly impressive either, but it has a more respectable mark both overall (14-13) and in conference (7-8). However, the Waves have lost three straight games as they get set for this duel, their final road game of the season. They will host San Francisco and Santa Clara in their final two contests of the campaign.

With an 80-69 victory on Feb. 1, Pepperdine has won three straight against LMU, improving its already hefty all-time series lead (94-65).

The Waves were not so lucky in their most recent outing, falling by a score of 74-62 to Portland. Pepperdine only connected on 35.1 percent of its shots from the floor, including a paltry 5-of-20 showing from 3-point range. Malcolm Brooks netted 15 points to pace the losing side.

Despite shooting a respectable 45.9 percent from the field for the season, the Waves rank eighth in the WCC in scoring (71.6 ppg). Stacy Davis (14.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Brendan Lane (13.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.5 bpg) carry the load, anchoring the team on the interior. Lane leads the WCC in blocks and ranks fourth in rebounds, with Davis not far behind. Lane had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds against Portland, while Davis tallied 12 points off the bench. Brooks (10 ppg) is also scoring in double figures this season, reaching at least 10 points in seven of the last eight games. However, he scored in double figures in only four other contests this season.

When the Lions traveled to Spokane to clash with Gonzaga on Saturday, it was no surprise they were on the wrong end of an 86-67 decision. LMU was dominated in the paint, where it was outscored, 38-28, to go with a 40-25 deficit on the glass. Anthony Ireland tied for the game-high 25 points for the Lions.

LMU's weakness is at the defensive end of the floor, as the team permits 78.2 ppg on 46.6 percent field goal efficiency. They have not been able to answer at the other end, scoring 74 ppg and connecting on 44.2 percent from the field themselves. Ireland (18.7 ppg, 5.4 apg) is an All-WCC candidate, but he has not gotten enough support this season. He is second in the league in scoring, assists and steals (1.7 spg). Evan Payne (15.1 ppg) and Gabe Levin (11.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg) are putting up solid numbers, but the list of scorers dries up quickly from there.

A rough season is almost at an end for LMU. The Lions do have a winning record at home (5-4) and playing in friendly confines may help them earn a rare victory, especially if Ireland gets a bit more help from his teammates.

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