The Gophers took care of business in round one of the Loyola Marymount series, hammering the Lions by 15, 88-73. Minnesota got out to a slow start, finding themselves down 19-10 early on in the game but a steady dose of Marcus Carr, Both Gach and a nice second half from newcomer Brandon Johnson secured a victory in what ended up not being a very close game.
Now, in game two, both teams have seen each other and understand a bit more about strengths and weaknesses. My suspicion is that Minnesota will be able to limit the surprises that arose in the first half — like bench forward and heavily-mulleted Keli Leaupepe scoring in droves — to hold the Lions in check, but you never know.
LMU fouled at an alarming rate in game one as the Gophers hammered the rim, and showcased much more athleticism. And Gabe Kalscheur didn’t even attempt a three pointer. At the end of the day Minnesota has more talent across the board which gives them a wide margin of error.
Loyola Marymount Lions (1-1)
Date and Time:
Monday, Nov. 30 @ 7 p.m. CT
Tell me more about the opponent.
The Lions finished with five players in double figures, seeing a surprise performance from Leaupepe who ended up with 12 points in 16 minutes, hitting a couple threes that seemed to surprise even his own team. He also fouled out in those 16 minutes. All-conference G/F Eli Scott was largely a nonfactor until pouring in some points late in the game. Junior wing Joe Quintana flashed some long-rage skills and could be a factor in game two if the Gophers aren’t careful.
Otherwise, 7-3 center Mattias Markusson was a total nonfactor after scoring 19 points in the team’s opening game against Southern Utah, having been neutralized by Liam Robbins.
The Gophers were bigger, stronger and faster than the Lions who ultimately looked undisciplined and had trouble converting near the hoop. That showed in them committing 27 fouls and 19 turnovers, though they did finish with a 44% field goal percentage.
The Lions have a huge gap to fill if they want to hang with Minnesota the entire game. The biggest question is which team will adapt better in the second game? Minnesota’s shortcomings may be easier to patch in the short term, which gives me hope that game two will be more of the same, just without the early deficit.
Vegas likes the Gophers by 14 and KenPom has them by 15. I’m taking Minnesota by 18, 84-66.