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Loyola Marymount is off to a fast start in men's basketball

Senior guard Anthony Ireland has helped lead the Lions to their best start since the 2003-04 season.

November 19, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • Loyola Marymount Coach Max Good says pressure defense has helped spark his team to improved play this season.
Loyola Marymount Coach Max Good says pressure defense has helped spark… (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)

Loyola Marymount is off to a 4-0 start and just defeated Northern Arizona, 90-78, with much less trouble than USC had in felling the Lumberjacks.

Anthony Ireland, a senior guard from Connecticut, has been the Lions' star. He twice has had double-doubles in points and assists as Loyola Marymount is off to its best start since the 2003-04 season.

Coach Max Good said the Lions have been playing "a pretty aggressive style of defense that at times creates some easy baskets for the opponent, but it also generates opportunities for us on offense.

"We need to get a little smarter with it, but I think we can wear teams down in the second half."

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Stacy Davis, a sophomore forward for Pepperdine, has scored at least 23 points for the Waves in each of their first two road games. He was chosen West Coast Conference player of the week.

Pepperdine won at UC Riverside, 69-66, and at Central Michigan, 88-71. Before the weekend, Davis didn't have a three-pointer in a college game. Now he's four for four, and he set a single-game career high from the free-throw line against UC Riverside, making 11 of 16 and hitting the go-ahead free throws with 33.7 seconds left in the game.

Davis, 6 feet 6 and 240 pounds, is from Laveen, Ariz. Last season, he was the WCC's freshman of the year, the first time a Waves player had won that award since 2003.

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UC Irvine scored 110 points Sunday night in a 37-point victory over Pacifica, a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Assn.

Five Irvine players scored in double figures and all 14 Anteaters in uniform scored at least two points. Ioannis Dimakopoulos, a 7-2 freshman, had 16 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes for the Anteaters.

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The road doesn't get any easier for Long Beach State.

And that road has already been plenty tough enough.

Coach Dan Monson's 49ers were routed by Arizona, 91-57, and also lost to Kansas State, 71-58, and Loyola Marymount, 74-73. Next, Long Beach is headed to Puerto Rico for a tournament that includes No. 14 Michigan, No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth and Florida State. And after that are nonconference games against Washington, USC, North Carolina State and No. 23 Creighton.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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