Dec. 29, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- LMU junior Anthony Ireland was nearly perfect in scoring 27 points, leading the Lions (7-6) to a 73-66 win over CSU Bakersfield (5-10) at Gersten Pavilion Saturday night to close out 2012 and non-conference play. The Lions end a two-game homestand with a pair of wins as they head into West Coast Conference action.
Ireland scored 27 points for the second straight night, needing just nine shots to do it. He finished 8-for-9 from both the field and free throw line, hitting all three of his three-point attempts in the process. He added eight rebounds, four assists and a steal in playing all 40 minutes.
"Anthony was so efficient tonight, I really don't remember when he missed," said Head Coach Max Good. "Bakersfield is very hard and awkward to play against. They present odd match-ups and we knew it was going to be a grind. Anthony is, obviously, a very good player. I am glad he is on our side. Not only did he score tonight, he got us eight rebounds."
Ashley Hamilton added 14 points and Ayodeji Egbeyemi chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds for the Lions, who finished the game shooting 56.8 percent from the field, including a 63.6 percent clip in the second half. The Lions had their fourth game of the year hitting 50 percent or better from three, hitting an efficient 6-for-12 from long range.
Brandon Barnes came off the bench to lead the Roadrunners with 22 points. They finished shooting 42.9 percent from the field and from the three-point line. CSUB made the most of their free throw opportunities, hitting 15-for-17 (88.2 percent).
The Lions held onto a 29-28 lead at the break and after Corey Hall scored the first bucket of the half, CSUB held onto a lead for the first six minutes of the second half. The lead would grow to four, 39-35, on a Barnes three-pointer.
LMU would go to a full court press, and it would result in five straight points from Ireland, giving the Lions a 40-39 lead. The lead would trade hands four more times before a dunk by Hamilton would give the Lions a 44-43 lead with 12:43 to play. It would kick start a 14-2 run that saw the Lions take an 11-point lead, 56-45, after Ireland capitalized on a three-point play with 7:53 to play.
They would never trail again.
"I really that the game turned when we started picking them up in full court. It enabled us to get some buckets from our defense," said Good. "It got us a little more involved. We aren't quite deep enough to do that 40 minutes a game, but when we do use it, it has helped us, and that was the case tonight."
The Roadrunners managed to cut the lead down to four, 61-57, with 2:58 to play on a Javante Maynor three-pointer.
Hamilton and Flint scored on back-to-back possession to push the lead back to eight, 65-59, with 1:49 to play. One last push by the Runners, thanks to a three-point play by Stephon Carter, cut the lead to five with 1:27 to play.
The Lions, who where just 9-for-16 from the charity stripe entering the final minute and half of the game, would go 8-for-10 in the final 1:26 to ice the game. The Lions finished 17-for-26 from the free throw line.
LMU begins the 2013 WCC season on the road, opening with BYU on Thursday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. (PT) The game will be aired on BYUtv and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM. The Lions will then head to Moraga, Calif., to take on Saint Mary's on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1:30 p.m. The game will be the first WCC Game of the Week on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
- GO LIONS -