No. 6 Gonzaga (22-2, 9-0) hosts Loyola Marymount (8-15, 1-9) Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The game will be televised on Root Sports.
The Stats - Loyola Marymount ranks 343rd out of 345 teams in defending the three-point line, allowing squads to hit 40 percent of their tries. That was evident in the teams' first meeting January 31st. The Bulldogs hit 13 of their 21 attempts. Gonzaga also shot 54.4 percent from the field, improving on their 50.7 percent on the season - which ranks 2nd in the nation. Meanwhile the Lions' shooting woes were evident, in their 14-for-56 performance. On the year Loyola Marymount hits 41.5 percent of their attempts (258th in the nation).
The Stars - It was Anthony Ireland, and no one else, when GU visited LMU. The junior guard finished with a game-high 19 points. Only four other players scored, as the Lions got just four points off the bench (compared to 47 for the Zags). He was also an impressive 5-for-10 from deep. Ireland, who averages 19.8 points, has paced LMU offensively in nine of their last 10 games. Meanwhile, balance was the name of the game for Gonzaga in their trip to Gersten Pavilion. Gary Bell Jr. and Kelly Olynyk shared scoring honors with 15 each. Mark Few has had five guys hold at least a share for the team-high in the last six games. After topping 20 points eight times in a 12 game span, Olynyk hasn't topped 15 in their last four games. Then again, they haven't really needed him to. That being said, he's due for a big outing. But given LMU's struggles to guard the perimeter it could likely be another shooting display for guys like Bell, Kevin Pangos and Drew Barham, who have had the touch from long range.
The Storylines - Thursday's win gave GU the highest winning percentage in the nation at 91.7. In their last 38 meetings with LMU Gonzaga has claimed a win over 92 percent of the time (35 total). All that to say, like the Pepperdine series, it's been all Gonzaga. They've won six in a row, but 22 straight when playing in Spokane (dating back to 1991). Saturday's game is a matchup of first and last, with a nine-win WCC team welcoming a squad that's lost nine of their 10 league appearances.