Cardinal Aim to Tame Young Lions

Stanford is 5-0 all-time vs. Loyola Marymount. Can the Card take advantage of the young, turnover-prone Lions?

Rusty. Sluggish. Lackluster. Disjointed.

Those adjectives described Stanford’s last performance. But the overall result is better summarized by a noun: “win.”

Hoping for the same ending—but with much less drama—the Cardinal (5-2) host the Loyola Marymount Lions (3-5) Wednesday at Maples Pavilion. The 6 p.m. tipoff marks Stanford’s first meeting with Loyola Marymount since December 21, 1984.

Stanford is hoping to improve on its last performance, a ragged win over Denver. Last Saturday, the Pioneers raced to a 13-2 lead and led by eight in the second half, but the Card rallied for a 49-43 win.

“Being down by eleven against Denver is like being down by twenty-plus versus most teams,” Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins noted after the win. “They’re not going to come down, quick shoot, and have a lot of possessions in the game. I think we’ll be better from that experience, to be quite frank, having faced a team that is that deliberate offensively and plays an unorthodox defense.”

Anthony Brown helped save the day with 17 points and four steals, but Chasson Randle struggled from the floor, hitting only two of 14 shots. “Chasson didn’t have his best stuff offensively,” Dawkins admitted. “But he still ran our team. As a point guard, you’re judged by winning, so he still won. And coming down the stretch he closed the game with all the free throws we needed him to make.

“A lot of times a player can get in that situation and because it’s not going well for him from the field, that can snowball into every part of his game," Dawkins continued. "I don’t think he allowed that. He showed great maturity on the floor, and that’s why he’s such a good player.”

Randle and Brown will help lead the Card against a Loyola Marymount program in transition. After the Lions finished last season in the West Coast Conference cellar, Loyola Marymount athletic director Dr. Bill Husak (yes, that’s Todd Husak’s father) installed Mike Dunlap as head coach. The former Charlotte Bobcats head coach has brought intensity and a full-court press to Westchester.

So far, the results have been mixed. Loyola Marymount’s previous run-ins with Pac-12 teams have not gone well this year. On November 20, Arizona State dispatched the Lions, 68-44. Two weeks ago, LMU was thumped 77-61 in a crosstown meeting with USC.

Last Saturday, LMU outshot and outrebounded Northern Arizona. Unfortunately, they didn’t outperform the Lumberjacks where it really counts: the scoreboard. LMU lost, 71-69.

The Lumberjacks couldn’t chop down LMU guard Evan Payne, who scored a career-high 32 points. The sophomore guard is averaging 22.6 points per game, good for 7th in the nation. 6-foot-11 sophomore forward Patson Siame is the Lions’ leading rebounder and shot-blocker. Reserve guard Matt Hayes has been dangerous from beyond the arc. The Lions don’t have much experience (four starters are freshmen and sophomores), but they go ten-deep in their rotation.

Turnovers have been a major downfall for LMU. Already, the Lions have committed at least 14 turnovers in six games. LMU’s 16 turnovers were the difference in their near-miss against Northern Arizona. They coughed it up 23 times in a win over UC Riverside. All those turnovers could be music to the Stanford defense’s ears, especially considering their efforts forcing critical crunch-time errors by Denver.

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