Nov. 17, 2012
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Junior Godwin Okonji grabbed an offensive rebound and muscled in a outback with 24 seconds remaining to give the Lions a two-point lead that would push them to a 76-73 win over CSU Bakersfield at the Icardo Center Saturday night.
While Okonji put in the game winner, it was junior Anthony Ireland that led the charge. The point guard finished one off a career high with 26 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Sophomore Chase Flint added 12 points while Ashley Hamilton and freshman Nick Stover added 10 each.
"It is hard to win on the road and you have to find a way to win when on the road," said Head Coach Max Good
. "It isn't always pretty, but we found a way. They played hard as a group tonight and found a way."
The Lions looked to be in complete control early as Ireland's lay-up in transition gave the Lions a 27-11 lead with 8:54 to play in the first half. After a timeout, CSUB switched to a full court press and it gave the Lions' fits early.
"Teams have not pressed us much because of Anthony and we just weren't ready for it," said Good. "At halftime we made some adjustments and I thought the guys did a much better job in handling their pressure and it allowed us to get back into our flow offensively."
Turnovers dominated the first half as LMU had 11 of their 16 and CSUB and 10 of their 13 in the first frame. And the turnovers led to points and a Roadrunner comeback.
CSUB cut the lead to four, 39-35 at the half, and completely erased the Lions' lead when they took a 49-48 lead on a three-pointer by Brandon Barnes. The three-pointer played a big role in the swings in the game as the team's combined for 10 each, with LMU going 10-for-17 (58.8 percent) and CSUB hitting 10-for-24 (41.7 percent).
The Roadrunners grew the lead to three several occasions before the Lions would tie it and take the lead themselves on back-to-back three-pointers by Flint, who went 4-for-5 from long range on the night.
LMU got the lead back to seven, 66-59, with 7:37 to play on an Ireland three-pointer. But the lead wouldn't last as the game continued to go swing. Adam Young's three-pointer with 5:02 to play gave CSUB the lead back at 69-68 and completed a 10-2 run.
The lead would grow to three before Ireland would score four straight points, including a runner with 2:59 to play for a 72-71 lead. Hamilton hit one of two free throws to make it 73-71 with 1:58 on the clock.
CSUB would tie the game one last time as Zach Lamb hit a jumper in the key to make it 73-73 with :56 to play, setting Okonji's outback. The Lions forced a bad shot and Hamilton hit one of two free throws for the three-point lead with two seconds left. He missed the second and Flint would earn a steal before CSUB could get the ball down the floor.
LMU continues its three-week road trip with a visit to the Great Alaska Shootout starting with Oral Roberts on Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. The game will be on CBS Sports Net and on KXLU 88.9 FM.
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