Loyola Marymount University, attempting to snap a five-game losing streak in the West Coast Athletic Conference, will make the toughest road trip of its basketball season with games tonight at Gonzaga in Spokane and Saturday at the University of Portland. The Lions, 10-12 overall and 2-7 in the WCAC, are in last place, a game behind Pepperdine, which makes the same trip. Gonzaga is in second place at 6-3 (15-7 overall), two games behind San Diego. Portland, which plays Pepperdine tonight, is in third place at 5-4 (13-9). The Lions are 2-8 on the road.
At stake for Loyola is the probability of playing San Diego in San Diego's snake-pit gym in the first round of the WCAC postseason tournament if the Lions finish last.
Forward Mike Yoest continues to lead the Lions with a 20.5-point average, followed by guard Chris Nikchevich at 13.4, forward Mark Armstrong at 12.5 and guard Enoch Simmons at 10.2. Simmons, recently inserted into the starting lineup, is the only player whose production increases in WCAC play. He's averaging 12.1 points in conference games and 15.8 as a starter. Nikchevich is shooting 45% from three-point range and is averaging 7.6 assists. Armstrong is the leading rebounder at 9.6 per game. The Lions are averaging 85.5 points but only 73.4 in WCAC games.
Cal State Dominguez Hills, coming off three straight road victories, is within a game of first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Conference basketball race. The Toros (17-6 overall and 7-3 in the CCAA), play host to last-place Cal State Los Angeles at 8:05 p.m. Friday, then travel to third-place Cal State Northridge for an 8:05 p.m. game Saturday. The Toros trail UC Riverside (8-2) with four games to play before the CCAA Tournament.
The Toros have won five of their last six games and William Alexander remains the CCAA's top scorer with a 21.7-point average. His production increases to 23.3 in conference games. Sophomore forward Tony Akins, who had a productive week, raised his average to 12.3 overall and 13.5 in the CCAA. He is also averaging 8 rebounds in conference play. Sophomore guard Vico Nomaaea is averaging 10.2. Point guard John Nojima is averaging 9.8 points in conference and has hit 62 of 132 three-point shots, 46% accuracy. Sophomore center Anthony Blackmon is the top rebounder at 8.1 per game.
Cal State L.A. is 6-15 overall and only 1-9 in conference, but the one win was an 83-82 overtime victory over Dominguez Hills last month. Northridge, the surprise team of the conference, is 10-13 overall but only a game behind the Toros at 6-4 in the CCAA. The Matadors have won three straight games since guard Pat Bolden returned from a knee injury.