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Gonzaga v. LMU Game Preview

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The Zags return home to host the Lions in what they hope is a repeat of the road win in LA four weeks ago.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

After surviving by the skin of their teeth in San Francisco, the Gonzaga Bulldogs return home to the friendly surrounds of the McCarthey Athletic Center hoping for a re-run of last month’s comfortable win at LMU.

Meet the opponent

LMU Lions, 8-15, KenPom #215

It has been tough sledding for the Lions since we last saw them. Losers of five of their last six games since Gonzaga’s visit on January 11, it has been a trying season for Mike Dunlap. LMU is not projected to win any of its remaining seven regular season WCC games, per KenPom, and could be facing a single digit win season after notching 22 victories just a year ago.

In the first game between those two teams, the Zags trudged through a sloppy affair as LMU did its best to disrupt the rhythm and flow of the game to curb Gonzaga’s transition offense. Joel Ayayi had one of his least effective games of the season as he was mired in foul trouble for much of the contest.

Eli Scott had himself a nice afternoon last time with 20 points on 9-13 FG, but he has a dearth of options to help him break down opposing defenses, and Gonzaga’s defense was never really tested.

What to watch out for

Minutes

I would be stunned if Killian Tillie played in this game, so the Zags will be restricted to their 6-man rotation. With Saint Mary’s on the docket for Saturday, and coming off a grueling come-from-behind win on Saturday in San Francisco, it would be nice if the starters could put this game away early to get the bench some minutes and allow them to preserve their legs for the Gaels.

Offensive Patience

LMU didn’t give up too many fast breaks last time around, and Gonzaga made a handful of unforced errors trying to manufacture transition opportunities that weren’t there. LMU will likely follow that script again on Thursday night, so the Zags will need to be patient and run their half-court offense with discipline.