Jan. 12, 2012
LOS ANGELES - LMU used defense to turn another tough, back-and-forth rivalry showdown with Pepperdine, into a huge 68-58 victory in West Coast Conference action at Firestone Fieldhouse Thursday night.
It was huge for multiple reasons, the biggest in that the Lions improve to 3-1 in WCC play, 10-7 overall. The Lions have won all three on the road, the first time since the 1991-92 season the Lions have won three in a row on the road in WCC play. It was also the first time since the 1997-98 season the Lions knocked off the Waves in Malibu.
"This was a big team win for us," said Head Coach Max Good. "We knew it was going to be a grind-it-out, defensive type game. I thought our defense during our key second half run was huge. This was a good win for us."
Anthony Ireland led all scorers with 21 points while Drew Viney had his 11th career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Godwin Okonji had four points, nine rebounds and four blocks to key the Lions' defensive effort.
The Lions held a 43-42 with 10:40 to play when Nikolas Skouen hit his second straight three-pointer. The Lions would then go on a 16-4 run, holding Pepperdine to 2-for-10 from the field with three turnovers and two Okonji blocks to build a 59-46 lead with 4:24 to play.
During the run, the Lions forced Pepperdine into a pair of shot clock violations as Viney scored seven points and Ireland four in the run.
LMU would keep the lead over double digits until the final seconds. The Lions held Pepperidne to 37.7 percent shooting a 21.1 percent from the three-point line. LMU finished shooting 42.9 percent, needing just 3-for-12 from the three-point line.
"We started off slow in rebounding, allowing them some early second chance opportunities," said Good. "But we Godwin, Drew and Alex Osborne really did a good job, especially in the second half in securing the ball."
The Lions finished with a slim 41-40 edge in rebounding against a Waves team that entered the game ranked fourth in the WCC in rebounded margin at +4.2. The plus-one margin was big in second chance points as the Lions held a 20-8 edge.
GAME NOTES: It was a game of runs in the first half. The Lions took a 14-13 lead on a lay-up by Viney with 9:57 to play. However, the Waves went on a 7-0 run to take a 20-14 lead with 7:40 to play on a Darby lay-up. The Lions then answered with a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 24-20 lead...
Jarred DuBois did not play due to a concussion suffered against San Diego. He will be examined on Friday for the game against Gonzaga.