Lions Win Another Defensive Battle
Men's basketball improves to 7-3 in WCC with 67-57 win over rival Pepperdine.
Feb. 2, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU men's basketball team earned a sweep of rival Pepperdine in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup thanks to a 67-57 win on Thursday night at Gersten Pavilion. Defense was key again as the Lions improve to 7-3 in the West Coast Conference and 14-9 overall.
The Lions held the Waves to 38.2 percent from the field and just 13.3 percent (2-for-15) from the three-point line. They also forced Pepperdine into 14 turnovers on 11 steals and held a 13-6 edge in points off turnovers.
"I was pleased with our defensive effort tonight," said Head Coach Max Good. "Pepperdine is a well coached team and they run a lot of good sets. Because of that, you have to play a full possession of defense. Our last three wins, defense has been a key for us."
Senior LaRon Armstead and junior Jarred DuBois led the Lions with 14 points each, with Armstead hitting all six of his free throw attempts in the final minute to secure the win. Ashley Hamilton had five points and a team-high nine rebounds. Taylor Darby had a game-high 18 points to lead the Waves (8-14, 2-9). Joshua Lowery added 11.
Anthony Ireland, who had nine points for LMU, hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half, giving the Lions a 34-27 lead. The Lions would stretch the lead to nine, 38-29, on an Armstead lay-up.
The Waves would not go away as they would slowly work the lead down to three, 52-49, on a pair of Darby free throws with six minutes to play. Hamilton answered on the next possession for a 54-49 edge. Darby wasn't finished, scoring with 4:32 to play on another lay-in.
Armstead continued his big play down the stretch, hitting a three-pointer with 3:58 to play for a 57-51 lead.
"LaRon has given us big minutes all season, and has proved time and time again that he is our senior leader," said Good. "His play down the stretch was huge."
He wasn't finished.
Lowery would hit just the Waves' second three-pointer to cut the lead to five, 59-54. After a DuBois free throw, Armstead then grabbed three straight defensive rebounds and buried all six of his free throw attempts for the 10-point win.
"We didn't rebound the ball all that well tonight," said Good. Pepperdine outrebounded the Lions 37-28. "But in the end, LaRon came up with three big rebounds and then as he has done all season, buried the free throws."
The Lions end a four-game homestand when they host San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 4 in a key WCC battle. Game time is set for 7 p.m., and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM and seen on LMULions.com.
It was a sluggish start as Pepperdine started 1-for-8 from the field while the Lions started 1-for-7. At the under-12 timeout, both teams were 4-for-14 from the field with Pepperdine holding a 11-9 lead (10:55)... Freshman C.J. Blackwell then hit three of the Lions' next four field goals. The Lions took their first lead since 2-0 on a Blackwell three-pointer with 10:26 to play in the first stanza. After a DuBois lay-in, Blackwell made it 18-12 with another three at 8:28. Blackwell's tip-in made it 20-14 less than a minute later... Anthony Ireland banked a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half to give the Lions a 34-27 lead at the break. The Lions went 5-for-10 from three in the first half... LMU swept the regular season contests between the two teams for the first time since 1996... The Lions have now won the last three games against Pepperdine... Drew Viney hit his first four shots en route to finishing 4-6 from the field with nine points... LMU jumped out to a 17-1 advantage in bench points to start the game... The Lions finished with a 30-19 advantage in bench points... Down 11-7, LMU went on an 8-0 run to claim a 15-11 advantage, a lead it would not relinquish... LMU allowed just a 2-for-15 mark from three-point range... LaRon Armstead went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, with all six coming in the final 1:15 of the game...
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