Second Half Pushes Lions to 4-0
Men's basketball scores 54 second half points to earn 90-78 win over Northern Arizona and improves to 4-0 to start season.
Nov. 17, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- For the second time in four games LMU senior Anthony Ireland went for a points-assists double-double, leading the Lions to 54 second half points as they pulled away late to defeat Northern Arizona, 90-78, at Gersten Pavilion on Sunday afternoon. LMU improves to 4-0 on the season, continuing their best start since 2003-04.
Ireland finished with 18 points and 10 assists, his sixth double-double as a Lion and second on the season. Freshman Gabe Levin had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He has scored double figures in his first four games of college basketball, the first freshman in LMU history to do so. Fellow freshman Evan Payne added 16 points and junior Chase Flint chipped in 11.
Northern Arizona (1-3) was led by Max Jacobsen with 28 points and Quinton Upshur with 25.
"We play a pretty aggressive style of defense that at times creates some easy baskets for the opponent, but it generates opportunities for us on offense," said Head Coach Max Good. "It held us in good stead tonight. We need to get a little smarter with it, but I think we worn them down a little in the second half."
The Lions led 36-35 at the break but opened up the game by shooting 65.6 percent (21-for-32) in the second half. LMU finished shooting 55.4 percent for the game and had 26 assists for their 36 field goals with a season-low 12 turnovers. NAU hit 46.8 percent for the game but stayed close thanks to 17-for-24 shooting from the free throw line. LMU was nearly perfect from the stripe, hitting 13-for-14.
Northern Arizona took the lead on Upshur's lay-in to start the second half and the lead would change hands 10 times on the night, including on a jumper by Jacobsen that gave the Lumberjacks a 50-49 lead with 14:14 to play.
However, the Lions would take over from there, using a 17-5 run over a span of more than three minutes to take a 66-55 lead with 10:40 to play. During the run, Ireland and Flint hit back-to-back three-pointers and Payne scored the final seven points, including the exclamation point on a dunk after a steal to end the run. The lead would never get below seven the rest of the way.
"Everyone that played made a solid contribution tonight," said Good. "They are really learning to play well together as a team. And Anthony has really become a very good leader. He gets his points, 10 assists with just one turnover. We have come to expect that from him."
The Lions out rebounded an opponent by double figures for the second straight game, holding a 38-28 edge over NAU. LMU also finished with nine steals, five in the second half.
LMU will play their next six games over the next month away from home. It starts with a trip to the Ezybonds Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Nov. 22-25. The Lions will open with Northern Iowa on Friday, Nov. 22 at 10:30 am PT. The game can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM and watched live through the Paradise Jam website.