Lions Erupt in Second Half For Road Win
Men's basketball shoots better than 60 percent and scores 60 points in second half to earn win.
Jan. 23, 2014
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- LMU men's basketball erupted for 60 second half points on 60 percent shooting to earn a 92-81 win on the road over Pacific in West Coast Conference action on Thursday afternoon. For the third time on the season the Lions had a pair of players with 20 or more points as freshman Evan Payne had 25 and Anthony Ireland had 24 points.
"It was offense from our defense tonight," said Head Coach Max Good. "We did a heck of a job in the first half in running a zone for the first time in like ever. I hate the zone, but tonight I sure did love it and it put us in the position to really push in the second half. Great win for us tonight."
After shooting 34.5 percent in the first half, going 2-for-9 from three, the Lions (11-10, 3-6) went 17-for-28 from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from long distance to put up the 60-point half. The Lions finished 47.4 percent for the game from the field and 7-for-14 from three. Pacific, who shot 30 percent in the first half, finished hitting 39.7 percent from the field and 10-for-27 from three (37 percent).
"We just started working on our zone and our defense really gave us confidence," said Good. "In the second half, we ran our offense about as well as we have a long time." The Lions finished the game with 11 blocks, two off a team record and committed a season-low six turnovers while forcing Pacific into 11 on eight steals.
Payne finished 7-for-11 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free throw line, while Ireland earned his 39th career 20-point game. Ireland added eight assists and five steals. Sophomore C.J. Blackwell led the Lions push in the second half, netting 17 on 6-of-9 shooting, 4-for-7 from three. Gabe Levin added his fifth double-double, a freshman record at LMU, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. It was his first of conference play.
Ross Rivera led Pacific (10-8, 1-6) with 16 points while Tony Gill had 13.
The start of both halves put LMU in early holes.
The Lions fell down 8-0 to start the game after starting the game 0-for-7 from the field. With just three turnovers and a zone defense that held Pacific to just 30 percent from the field and generated seven of their 11 blocks, the Lions worked back and took the lead. It would change hands four times before going into the break tied at 32-32.
In the second half, the Tigers came out hitting 3-for-4 three-pointers and 9-for-12 from the field in building a 53-44 lead on a Gill lay-up with 14:32 to play.
The Lions would stage another rally, this time for good. It started with Ireland, who kick-start a shooting spree that put the Lions in the lead, hitting a three-pointer with 13:08 to play to make it 53-51.
Then a trio of consecutive three-pointers by Blackwell, Payne then Blackwell again with 10:08 to play spearheaded a 16-4 run that gave the Lions the lead at 60-57. Two free throws by Ross Rivera made it 60-59 with 9:46 to play.
Then a 17-1 run put the game away.
Another Blackwell three-pointer and then a three-point play by Ireland put the Lions up 66-61. Stover's lay-up in transition with 8:10 to play made it 68-61. A 17-footer by Ireland made it 71-62 and then his free throws with 5:11 to play completed the run, making it 77-62.
The game featured the two best free throw shooting teams in the WCC and the Lions iced the game by going 31-for-37 from the charity stripe (83.8 percent). Pacific, who is ranked fifth nationally in free throw shooting, with 17-for-21 (81 percent).
The Lions continue their road swing with Saint Mary's on Saturday at 3 pm. The game can be seen on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
NOTE: Ireland's line of 24 points, eight assists and five steals gives him 1,968 points, 503 assists and 186 steals, making him just one of four players in the nation to have more than 1500 points, 500 assist and 186 steals (Kendall Williams - New Mexico, Chaz Williams - UMass, Shabazz Napier - UConn).