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Gonzaga vs. LMU Game Preview

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The Zags look to build on their momentum.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 09 Gonzaga at San Diego Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the Loyola Marymount Lions on Saturday afternoon, at 1:00 pm PT.

Gonzaga is coming off the sort of WCC win we have been waiting for this season. After stumbling through their first two games against Portland and Pepperdine, the Zags took it straight to the face of San Diego, winning 94-50.

LMU had the week off essentially. Their last game against BYU might have been one of their worst in the past decade. The Lions mustered a paltry 38 total points in the game.

Meet the opponent

LMU Lions, 7-9, KenPom #209

The game against BYU was a bit of a shock because LMU is not that poor of a shooting team. Led by junior forward Eli Scott and his 16.1 points per game, the Lions are effective at scoring inside, shooting 54.1 percent as a team inside the three-point line, the 38th-highest mark in the nation.

This season especially, head coach Mike Dunlap’s gameplan is to grind the game down into absolute dust. LMU plays the slowest tempo in the conference, somehow even slower than Saint Mary’s. For comparison, Gonzaga averages nearly eight more possessions per game than LMU does.

Much of that is because LMU has to find a way to score the ball effectively inside because they are not the best three-point shooting team out there. Senior Swedish guard Erik Johansson shoots the three at nearly a 40 percent clip, but he is largely the only threat. Seikou Sisoho Jawara hits 42 percent from outside, but the freshman guard only averages 14 minutes per game.

What to watch out for

Another game like Thursday please.

If you want to sugarcoat the games against Portland and Pepperdine, go right ahead. It is true, Gonzaga is the No. 1 team in the nation and WCC teams will always give it their best shot, but neither Portland or Pepperdine is good. Gonzaga shouldn’t necessarily be winning each conference game by 44 points, but they shouldn’t struggle as much as they did last week. That said, watching the Zags clobber San Diego helped put that in the rear-view mirror as quickly as possible. Another win like that tomorrow, and it is safe to assume the coaching staff’s message has gotten through.

More Martynas Arlauskas.

I don’t know about you, but I love seeing Arlauskas on the court. He has ball-handling skills, he appears to be all over the place, and since we can’t count on Anton Watson’s shoulder staying in place, it would be nice to know that Mark Few has a player he can sub in the most dire situations. Arlauskas got nine minutes last night, and if the score tomorrow resembles the San Diego game, it would be nice to see him get more.