Loyola Marymount (5-5) at Saint Louis (7-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chaifetz Arena (10,600) -- St. Louis, Missouri. Television: FSN-MW. Home Record: Loyola 2-2, SLU 6-1. Away Record: Loyola 2-1, SLU 0-1. Neutral Record: Loyola 1-2, SLU 1-1. Conference Record: Loyola 0-0, SLU 0-0. Series Record: Loyola Marymount leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Louis Billikens are set to host the Loyola Marymount Lions in a non-league clash at Chaifetz Arena.
LMU enters the matchup with a .500 record and having split its last four outings. Most recently, the Lions were on the wrong end of a 73-70 decision versus Ole Miss on Wednesday. Following this tilt, they'll return home for a pair of games next week, beginning with Morgan State on Thursday.
Saint Louis is off to a 4-0 start on its nine-game homestand, which stretches through Jan. 10. The Billikens notched a 72-45 win over Eastern Illinois on Wednesday night and appear to be gaining confidence each time they take the floor. They have won by an average margin of 16.5 points in the first four games of the homestand.
These two teams met for the first time last November in Los Angeles, where LMU claimed a 75-68 victory.
Loyola Marymount rallied back from a 13-point second-half deficit against Ole Miss, only to come up just a bit short at the final buzzer. The Lions trailed 69-68 with three minutes remaining, but Ole Miss answered with back-to-back buckets, and LMU's Anthony Ireland could not sink a potential game-tying 3- pointer with seven seconds to play. Ultimately, the Lions were unable to overcome 17 turnovers and an 8-of-19 shooting effort from beyond the arc by the Rebels. Ireland paced four LMU players in double figures with 17 points to go along with nine rebounds, although he shot just 6-of-20 from the floor and committed a game-high seven turnovers. On the season, Ireland paces the squad with 20.7 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds. Ashley Hamilton is averaging 15.4 points and a team-best 7.7 rebounds, followed by Ayodeji Egbeyemi with 12.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg. That trio has combined to shoot 45.4 percent from the perimeter (49-of-108).
Saint Louis is +8.3 in scoring margin, having held foes to 58.0 ppg. But despite not giving up a ton of points, the Billikens are not without their flaws on the defensive end. SLU has shot at a healthy 39 percent clip from beyond the arc, although they have allowed the opposition to shoot 42 percent from long range. Dwayne Evans, a 58.8-percent shooter from the floor, leads the team with 12.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per tilt. Cody Ellis (11.2 ppg) and Mike McCall, Jr. (11.1 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers for SLU. Against Eastern Illinois on Wednesday, the Billikens shot a red-hot 57.5 percent from the field, including a 9-of-14 effort from 3-point range. They also held a 30-19 rebounding advantage and committed only nine turnovers. McCall was the only player in double figures, finishing with 13 points, although nine different Billikens tallied at least six points.
As all but one visiting team has found out this season, coming away from Chaifetz Arena with a win is no easy task. The Lions have the size and the shooting to stick around in this contest, but in the end, the Billikens should prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Louis 73, Loyola Marymount 66
12/22 10:40:19 ET