Saint Mary’s Gaels at Loyola Marymount Lions – NCAAM January 21

Saint Mary’s Gaels (9-5, 0-3) at Loyola Marymount Lions (7-4, 2-1)

Time: 5 PST – 7 CST – 8 EST
Place: Gersten Pavilion, Los Angeles, Calif.
TV: Stadium TV

What is at Stake

The Gaels are off to an 0-3 start in WCC play for the first time in 15 years while the Lions improved to 7-0 at home. Loyola Marymount can equal the 2018-19 start of eight home ‘dubs’ in a row with a win over the Gaels. LMU has won five of it’s last six while SMC has lost four of it’s last five games. The Gaels have won the last 10 games in the series.

Randy Bennett’s Gaels are at the bottom of the WCC and it is looking for the first win which would be a momentum and confidence builder. Coach Stan Johnson has crafted his culture immediately with the Lions who are one game off of No. 1 Gonzaga and Pacific as those two teams are the last two undefeated in league play.

Vs. The Spread:

Saint Mary’s:

  • The total has gone under in 5 of the Gaels’ last 6 games
  • SMC is 6-1 ATS in the last seven games when facing Loyola Marymount
  • The Gaels are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 outings at LMU

Loyola Marymount:

  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Loyola Marymount’s last 5 games
  • However the total has gone OVER in 4 of the Lions’ last 6 WCC games
  • The Lions are 4-1 SU in their last five contests
Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Saint Marys CA -2½ (-113) -148 O 124 (-110)
Loyola Marymount +2½ (-107) +128 U 124 (-110)

Last Time Out:

Saint Mary’s controlled the tempo for most of the evening, but No. 1 Gonzaga was too much too much to overcome as the Bulldogs throttled the Gaels, 73-59, in Moraga. Much of that has to do with how familiar the Gaels are with the Bulldogs and their ability to digest plays and even calls. Dan Fotu led the Gaels with 15 points while Logan Johnson had 12.

Eli Scott scored 20 points and Joe Quintana added 15 in overtime as the Lions took down San Diego, 72-69. Dameane Douglas had 19 points and nine boards as Quintana’s jumper with 1:31 to go in the extra session gave the Lions the lead for good.

For the Gaels to Win:

The Gaels have to create offense as they haven’t shot well at all in making only 43 percent of their attempts while netting only 32.8 percent from three. The Lions don’t defend the triple that well, so the opportunity for leading scorer Tommy Kuhse (14.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg) could arise. Quinn Clinton comes in off the bench as he leads SMC in made threes with 21. Kuhse has 79 of the Gaels’ 160 assists on the season. Interestingly, the Gaels tempo seems more methodical than it has been for a while at 20.3 seconds per possession (346th/NCAA).

Inside the Gaels Numbers:
Two key injuries have hurt the Gaels and kept them from moving forward in WCC play as Leemet Bockler is out indefinitely with a foot injury and second leading scorer Alex Ducas is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Int he five games since Ducas’ injury, Saint Mary’s has shot just 37 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three while averaging just 57 points per game.

For the Lions to Win:
LMU LogoThe Lions need to assert their advantage in athleticism and quickness with leading scorer Eli Scott (15.5 ppl, 8.5 rpg) and skillful Dameane Douglas (13.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) as an inside-outside threat. Both should be able to go at Matthias Taas and potentially get the Gaels’ big man in foul trouble. The point guard matchup of Joe Quintana (9.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg) and Kuhse should be interesting to watch. Quintana leads LMU in triples with 23. The Lions’ biggest problem is turnovers where they average 16.6 per game, but SMC forces only 11.1. Those numbers will be interesting to dissect during the game and if the Gaels cannot turn the Lions over, the advantage swings mightily in the favor of Loyola Marymount.

Inside the Lions Numbers:
LMU has been solid on the boards in outrebounding it’s opponents by 5.2 per game. Scott and Douglas combine for 15.7 of the Lions’ 36.6 rebounds per game as both players are active and hard to account for around the rim on both ends of the floor.
The Bets
Loyola Marymount +2½
-113
OVER 124
-110
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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