Quick Turnaround in WCC Opening Weekend
Lions to play second WCC road game in three days as they face Saint Mary's on Saturday.
Jan. 4, 2013
MORAGA, Calif. -- LMU men's basketball (7-7, 0-1) will continue its opening weekend road trip in West Coast Conference play with their second straight opponent with 10-plus wins, facing Saint Mary's (11-3, 0-0) on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1:30 p.m. The game will be the first WCC Game of the Week on Time Warner Cable SportsNetwork, Root Sports Northwest/Rocky Mountain and Comcast Sports - California. It can also be heard live on KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE GAME
INSIDE THE LIONS
More Ireland... He currently is second in the WCC in scoring at 20.4 ppg, which is ranked 14th (as of Jan. 3) in NCAA-I (national rankings on page 6). He also ranks 10th in the WCC in rebounds at 5.9 rpg, eighth with 4.1 apg, seventh in steals with 1.5 spg and second in minutes played at 36.0. In the win over Texas State, he scored his 1,000th career point and he is now 21st all-time with 1,174 points.
Senior Ashley Hamilton is having his best season as a Lion, scoring 20 points with seven rebounds against Morgan State and his season also includes a career-best 24 points against Northern Arizona. He is averaging 14.9 ppg and 7.1 rpg. He is 11th in the WCC in scoring and fifth in rebounds. He is also fourth in the WCC in offensive rebounds and eighth in defensive rebounds. He has 511 rebounds in his career, the 25th Lion to crack 500 rebounds for a career. He is ranked 23rd all-time at LMU.
Redshirt junior Alex Osborne has started the last five games at center in the place of Godwin Okonji, who had emergency Laparoscopic Appendectomy on the evening Dec. 12. Osborne has responded in a big way, averaging just under eight points and six rebounds in the four starts. He had nine points and a career-best 10 rebounds against Ole Miss and then followed that with 11 points and five rebounds at Saint Louis. He is 20th in the league in rebounding at 4.6 rpg and 14th with 1.14 steals per contest.
Utah native Chase Flint has been making a huge impact in his first season for the Lions. The Eastern Utah transfer from Fruit Heights is doing a little of everything for the Lions. Flint is fifth in the WCC in minutes played at 32.6 mpg and seventh in assists with 4.29 apg, while averaging 6.6 points per game, fourth on the Lions' roster. He is ranked second in the WCC with an assists to turnover ratio of 3.16, dishing out 60 assists with just 19 turnovers. That mark is ranked 19th in the NCAA. He leads the Lions in assists, going for six against CSUB Saturday. He also has 4.6 rebounds per game, going for a career-best 10 against Morgan State Thursday and seven to lead the Lions on Thursday against BYU.
The Lions have showed strength on the glass, and used a +35 edge on the boards last week to earn the wins. They went +23 against against Morgan State and are ranked fourth in the WCC with a +5.1 rebound margin. In addition to the 56-33 edge against the Bears and 33-21 edge over CSUB, the Lions out rebounded Texas State 48-32 and Portland State 41-27. The Lions are second in the WCC with 39.5 rebounds per game, trailing Thursday's opponent BYU by just .3 rebounds. The Lions lead the league best 13.2 offensive rebounds per game. LMU grabbed a season-high 22 against Morgan St. In that win over the Bears, the Lions' three starting guards of Ireland (6 rebounds), Egbeyemi (10 rebounds) and Flint (10 rebounds) combined for 26 of the Lions 56 rebounds.
Junior Ayodeji Egbeyemi is off to his best season, sitting third on the team with 10.9 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game, ranking 20th and eighth in the WCC, respectively. He had his second career double-double on Nov. 29 with 16 points and 11 rebounds against LBSU. In the close of non-conference play, he scored 21 points and grabbed a team-best 19 rebounds (10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg).
The Lions closed non-conference with their fourth game hitting 50 percent or better from the three-point line, hitting an efficient 6-for-12 from long range in the win over CSUB. The Lions shot a season-best 58.8 percent (10-for-17) in the first meeting against the Roadrunners. The other two were a 13-for-25 (52%) performance on Nov. 29 against LBSU and then upped that by one with a 14-for-25 (56%) effort agaisnt NAU. The Lions are ranked fourth in the league in three pointers made per game (6.9) and three-point percentage (.368). Ashley Hamilton leads the team at 45.5 percent, which is ranked fourth in the WCC. Anthony Ireland is second on the team hitting 42.9 percent, including his perfect 3-for-3 effort last Saturday. He is ranked seventh in the WCC.
The 2012-13 season is a combination of experience and the unknown as the Lions returned eight letterwinners, including three starters, from last year's team that had the best season since the Elite Eight campaign at 21-13 overall and 11-5 (4th) in the WCC. With the experience, however, there is plenty of youth. The 15-man roster has just 15 years of NCAA Division-I basketball experience - one of the youngest rosters in the country.