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Evan Payne had 18 points, six assists and four steals.

Dec. 17, 2013

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LOS ANGELES -- Playing at home for the first time in a month and just the second time in 11 games to start the 2013-14 season, LMU men's basketball used a second half surge to post a 79-59 win over Cal Poly at Gersten Pavilion Tuesday night.

With the game tied at 44, the Lions (7-4) went on a 23-6 run over the span of 8:38 to pull away from the Mustangs (4-6). LMU, playing with just eight scholarship players in uniform, had five players in double figures, led by senior Anthony Ireland with 20 points and freshman Evan Payne with 18.

"Our defense fueled our offense tonight," said Head Coach Max Good. "In the second half, we pulled away with our defense. We have really challenged them to dig in and to hold them to 34 percent in the second half was very good. I was proud of our defensive effort and our balance."

The guards came up big for the Lions. Ireland had his 36th career 20-point game and finished a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. He also had five assists and five rebounds. Payne added six assists, four rebounds, and four steals.

"We had great balance," said Good. "With our injuries, we needed a full team effort and we got that."

Chris Eversley led all scorers with 21 points but was the only Mustang in double figures as the Lions held Cal Poly to 34.5 percent shooting in the second half and 38.3 percent for the game.

LMU shot 50 percent in the second half and rounding out the Lions top scorers was Ben Dickinson with 14, Alex Osborne with 11 and C.J. Blackwell had 10 points with a team-high eight rebounds.

The two teams combined to hit 32-of-35 free throws, as LMU went 23-for-26 and Cal Poly a perfect 9-for-9.

LMU led 33-31 at the half but Cal Poly was quick to tie it on the first possession of the second frame. The Lions would never trail in the second half but Cal Poly kept it even, including Jamal Johnson's lay-up that made it 44-44 with 13:35 to play.

Blackwell then knocked in a three-pointer and Ireland followed with a jumper for a 49-44 lead. The Lions then led 51-48 and rolled off a 9-0 run to push the lead 60-48 with 6:05 to play. After a pair of Dave Nwaba free throws, the Lions scored another seven straight to complete a 16-2 run and a 67-50 lead. Ireland would get the margin to as high as 21 after six straight free throws that followed a double technical and a foul.

The Lions continue their four-game home stand with the third annual LMU Holiday Classic against La Sierra on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 6 pm. The game is free and features $1 hotdogs thanks to Sodexo.




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