Jan. 19, 2012
PROVO, Utah - It was a battle of strength-vs-strength as the best road record in the West Coast Conference, went up against one of the best home court edges in college basketball. Playing the role of the road-warrior, LMU, did it again, this time defeating BYU, 82-68, in front of 12,751 Thursday in Provo, Utah.
The Lions improve to 4-0 in league play on the road for the first time since the 1987-88 season and improve to 4-2 overall in the WCC. The Cougars, who were 10-1 at home entering the game, drop their first WCC home game on the season. They are 16-5 overall and 5-2 in the WCC.
"That was a big win for us as it was a complete team win," said Head Coach Max Good. "We showed great poise down the stretch and fought through a lot. Big road win for us. "
Anthony Ireland scored a career-high 27 points with five assists and five steals. He finished hitting 7-for-9 from the field and 12-for-14 from the free throw, all coming in the final 3:26 of the second half. Senior Drew Viney added 21 points.
Noah Hartsock had a career-high 28 points on 11-for-15 shooting for the Cougars. However, the Lions held the rest of the BYU roster to 12-of-45 from the field (27 percent), including a 2-for-25 effort from the three-point line (eight percent).
"Our defense was really solid tonight," said Good. "They are so tough inside, and Hartsock is just a beast. But thankfully we got them to miss some shots."
BYU finished the game shooting 38.3 percent, while the Lions hit 43 percent. The Lions also won the rebounding battle, outrebounding the Cougars 42-33, including seven from Ashley Hamilton and six from Viney, LaRon Armstead and Ayodeji Egbeyemi.
The first half featured seven ties and five lead changes, the final lead change came when senior LaRon Amrstead hit a three-pointer with 7:41 remaining in the first half. It gave the Lions a 20-17 lead, one they would not let go of the rest of the way.
The Lions led 34-28 at the half and stretched it to 10, 46-36, on a Hamilton free throw.
BYU would fight back, cutting the lead to 55-54, on a pair of free throws by Brandon Davies with 8:17 to play.
But Viney would answer right back with a huge turning point in the game, hitting a three-pointer in the deep corner in front of the Lions' bench for a 58-54 lead.
"They cut it to one on a couple big shots and Drew came down and hit a big three right in front of us," said Good. "That was a huge turning point. Big shot by a clutch shooter."
The lead would sit at two, 61-59, with 5:55 to play after Hartsock hit a pair of free throws. LMU would then put the game away, going on an 11-0 run in the next three minutes to take a 72-59 lead.
Nine of the 11 points in the run where from three throws as the Lions would go 19-for-22 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes. They would finish 29-for-36 (80.6 percent).
"They put pressure on us to hit our foul shots to get back in it, and we just didn't give them much room in hitting 80 percent," said Good. "We have been shooting pretty solid from the foul, and it really helped us. And really helps to have a guy like Anthony with ball. He is just so tough and poised."
The Lions will continue their road trip when they travel to Santa Clara on Monday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
The Lions started their ninth different line-up of the season with senior LaRon Armstead getting the nod on Thursday.
First half featured seven ties and five lead changes as the Lions led by as many as seven thanks to freshman Bruce English's first career three-pointer.
The Lions held BYU without a three-pointer, 0-for-12, to send them to the lockerroom trailing at the break for the first time at home in conference play.
Noah Hartsock and Drew Viney both went 6-for-7 from the field in the first half to score 15 points each.
- GO LIONS -