Ireland's 30 Not Enough
Men's basketball can't keep pace in second half shootout despite career-best 30 from Anthony Ireland.
Nov. 22, 2012
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- In the third quarterfinal of the 2012 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, LMU and Oral Roberts started with a defensive affair. However, it ended up living to the tournament's name, becoming a shootout in the second half thanks mainly to the teams' leading scorers. Oral Roberts would end up on top as they earned a 75-66 win on Thursday night at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska.
Junior guard Anthony Ireland seemed to be on the floor as much as on his feet and managed to score a career-best 30 points. However, the pace of the offensive second half was set by ORU's Warren Niles, who netted 33 in leading Oral Roberts to 3-1 on the season. The Lions fall to 2-2.
"We just didn't guard Niles well at all," said Head Coach Max Good. "Actually, it might have been better to not guard him at all because he might have missed those. With that said, he is a heck of a player and he made us pay."
It was a back-and-forth affair at the start as the teams traded defensive stops and got offense from their defense. The Golden Eagles got a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the half to take a 30-27 lead at the break.
Niles had 11 while Ireland had seven.
However, it was a different pace in the second half. The teams combined for 84 second half points, including a 45-point effort by the Golden Eagles that was led by 22 points from Niles.
Oral Roberts started the second half with 7-0 run to build a 10-point lead. After the Lions trimmed the lead to three on a pair of Hamilton free throws, the Golden Eagles used 70 percent shooting late through the first 15 minutes of the half to build a lead as large as 18.
ORU would finished shooting 64 percent in the second half and 52 percent for the game. The Lions shot 40.7 percent for the game, including 11-for-21 from Ireland who also hit 4-of-5 from three.
"Anthony is one of the toughest players I have seen," said Good. "And he was on the floor a lot tonight. Bottom line we have to do a better job defensively and do better at our assignments. We managed to cut the lead down and a missed rebound just set us back. They fought hard all night, and I love this team as they don't quit. But we have to do better at our assignments."
Ireland's 23 second half points helped the Lions cut the lead down to single digits. Ireland's free throws cut the lead to 66-56 with 4:52 to play, and then after a steal by Ireland that led to a pair of Hamilton free throws, the Lions had the lead down to 66-58 with 3:45 on the clock.
However, on the next possession, the Lions gave up an offensive rebound and Glover drained a three to push the lead back to 11 as the Lions would get the lead down to just nine the rest of the way.
The Lions will play in the consolation semifinals on Friday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. (PT) against the loser of Texas State and Charlotte match-up. Listen to the game live on KXLU 88.9 FM and through LMULions.com