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SportsScope : Lions Invade San Diego, St. Mary's for Crucial Conference Cage Games

January 29, 1987

Loyola Marymount University takes a crucial two-game road trip starting tonight in San Diego as the Lions attempt to get back into the West Coast Athletic Conference basketball race. The Lions are 10-8 overall and 2-3 in the conference but have dropped two straight WCAC games and take on the first-place team, the University of San Diego (5-1). On Saturday they play at St. Mary's in Moraga.

Loyola continues to score and give up points almost equally. The Lions are averaging 89.9 points and giving up 90.1. For the season the Lions have been outscored by three points. Junior Mike Yoest continues to lead with a 21.9-point average. Also in double figures are guard Chris Nikchevich at 13.8 and forward Mark Armstrong at 13.6. Nikchevich is among the nation's assist leaders at 8.4 per game. Armstrong leads the Lions in rebounding at 10.1 per game. The Lions are 2-5 on the road. Loyola is without the services of freshman guard Jeff Fryer, who has a stress fracture in his right shin and could be out until mid-February.

San Diego, 14-4 overall, has the league's top big man in 7-foot center Scott Thompson, averaging about 16 points and 9 rebounds. The Toreros' other top players are 6-8 forward Nils Madden and guards Paul Leonard and Danny Means. St. Mary's, which plays Pepperdine tonight, is 2-4 in the WCAC, tied with San Francisco for last place. The team is 11-9 overall. The Gaels are led by sophomore forward Robert Haugen.

Cal State Dominguez Hills completes the first round of California Collegiate Athletic Assn. basketball play with Friday and Saturday games against Cal Poly Pomona and UC Riverside. Friday's game at Dominguez Hills begins at 8:05 after a women's 5:45 game. Saturday's 8:05 game at Riverside starts a four-game road trip that includes a Tuesday contest at Chapman College. The Toros go into Friday's game with a 13-5 record overall and a 3-2 mark in the CCAA, tied for second behind Riverside (5-0). Dominguez Hills, Chapman and Cal State Northridge are 3-2. Pomona is 2-3. Last week Riverside was rated second on the West Coast, with the Toros third.

Toros star forward William Alexander needs only 26 points to become the CCAA's all-time scoring leader. In two weekend games he had 54 points and 19 rebounds and was named CCAA player of the week. Alexander leads the CCAA in scoring with a 21-point average and had 32 in a triple overtime loss to Cal State Los Angeles last weekend. The next night in a victory over Cal State Northridge, guard John Nojima hit eight three-point shots to account for all of his season-high 24 points. He's third in the conference in assists with a 5.3 average.

Sophomore forward Tony Akins is second for the Toros in scoring with an 11.8 average. Sophomore guard Vico Nomaaea is chipping in 10.4 points per game. He is coming off his best weekend of the season--13 points and 11 rebounds against Cal State L.A. and 8 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists against Northridge.

Alexander will face his top opposition for CCAA player of the year in Riverside's 6-7 forward Robert Jimerson. The CCAA co-player of the year as a junior is averaging 20.8 points and leads the conference in rebounding at 11.1 per game. The rest of the front line is also strong for the 10th-rated Highlanders, featuring forward Julius Thomas (14.3 points, 6.7 rebounds per game) and center Paul Kapturkiewicz (19.2, 8.1). Riverside also starts point guard Mission Labasan, a Carson High graduate who averages 7.2 points and 5.2 assists.

The Lady Toros basketball team, which won its first CCAA game last weekend after 17 straight losses, will play host to defending national champion Cal Poly Pomona at 5:45 p.m. Friday, then plays conference games at UC Riverside on Saturday and Chapman on Tuesday, also at 5:45. The Lady Toros are 7-11 overall and 1-3 in the CCAA. They defeated Cal State Northridge, 64-61, in overtime to break a conference losing streak that went back to February, 1985. Junior forward Debra McGee made four free throws in the final nine seconds to secure the game. Junior forward Deborah Shepherd leads the Lady Toros with a 9.2 scoring average.

Cal Poly Pomona, 17-1 overall and 4-0 in the CCAA, has won two straight national titles and is ranked No. 1 again this season. The Broncos have at least two All-American candidates in forward Debra Larsen, the CCAA female athlete of the year as a junior, and guard Michele McCoy, a transfer from UCLA. They have not lost a CCAA game in two years.

Rolling Hills received 12 of 13 first-place votes in maintaining its No. 1 ranking in this week's CIF basketball coaches 3-A poll. No. 3 Katella received the other first-place vote. Palos Verdes remained the fourth-ranked team in 3-A. The South Bay's only other ranked boys team is Chadwick, which remained No. 5 in 1-A. In the girls ratings, Morningside is third in 4-A.

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