New Year Brings PCH Cup Rivalry
Men's basketball heads to road in West Coast Conference play, traveling 19 miles up PCH for Pepperdine match-up.
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LOS ANGELES - The 2017 calendar year will begin with the Wells Fargo PCH Cup as the LMU men's basketball travels for the first time in conference play on Thursday, Jan. 5 to take on Pepperdine. This will be the 165th meeting between the two teams. Tip-off is set for 7 pm and it can be seen on TheW.tv, through SlingTV and on the air at KXLU 88.9 FM.
|Date | Time:||Thursday, Jan. 5 | 7 pm (PT)|
|Where:||Firestone Fieldhouse | Malibu, CA|
|GAME PREVIEW:||LMU Game Notes | PEP Game Notes|
|The Match-up:||LMU: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
PEP: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
|Live Broadcast:||TheW.tv | SlingTV|
|RADIO:||KXLU 88.9 FM | Listien Online|
|GameDay Info:||GAMEDAY CENTRAL | BUY TICKETS | COMING TO LMU|
THE MATCH-UP The senior led Lions started conference with the big one-two punch of No. 19 Saint Mary's and BYU to complete a four-game home stand. The Lions fell to the Gaels 72-60 on Thursday and then 81-76 in another thriller at Gersten Pavilion, 81-76. December defined the cardiac Lions as they earned one-point decisions in three of their last six match-ups of non-conference, with seven of their last 10 games decided in the last 10 seconds of the game (record of 3-4). The Lions are 4-4 in games decided by less than 10 points, going 2-1 in one-point games, 1-2 in three-point games and then the five-point setback last Saturday. The Lions were led down the stretch of non-conference by the one-two punch of Brandon Brown and Stefan Jovanovic. The two seniors lead the Lions at 14.5 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. Brown adds 5.15 assists per game and a 39.3 percent shooting mark from three while Jovanovic adds 5.3 rebounds per game and a 62,6 percent shooting clip from the field. Brown had the Lions first double-double on Dec. 22 with 22 points and 11 assists and then fellow senior Buay Tuach had their second straight on Monday with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Pepperdine dropped a pair of games in the Pacific Northwest to start conference, falling to Gonzaga on Thursday, 92-62, and then to Portland on Saturday, 73-60. They have played six straight on the road and have dropped their last nine games, sitting at 4-10 overall and 0-2 in the WCC. Lamond Murray, Jr., leads the Waves with 18.9 ppg, hitting 46.8 percent from three (26-for-55). Chris Reyes leads the team with 7.9 rpg, adding 14.1 ppg. Teams are averaging 80.5 ppg against the Waves, which is last in the WCC. They are ninth in the WCC averaging 70.6 ppg. LMU is fifth in both points scored (74.5) and points allowed (70.1).
As mentioned, this will be the 165th meeting between the two rivals 19.1 miles apart. The match-up will be the first of two in men's basketball for points in the annual Wells Fargo PCH Cup. The teams split the match-up last year, with the Lions winning in double overtime in the final regular season game of the season, 90-83, on Feb. 27, 2016. Pepperdine leads the overall series 98-66 and are 51-17 at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
INSIDE THE LIONS The Lions are 7-6, 0-2 on the season as they enter the 2017 calendar year. The Lions have won five of their last six games and had a season-best four-game winning streak snapped on Dec. 22, falling to UT Arlington 80-77 in non-conference. The three-point decision continues the Cardiac Lions' trend of close games this season. How close? Removing the season opener and the last non-conference match-up, the score in the other nine games of non-conference was 664 to 658.
Brown and Jovanovic are two of five seniors pacing the Lions this season and they both have been hot of late. Within the WCC, Brown is 11th in scoring and 6th in assists. He is also 5th in assist-to-turnover ratio. Jovanovic scored in double figures the last seven non-conference games, including a pair of career-highs in the process, and has double figures in eight of the last nine games. He is ranks 23rd in scoring and 3rd in shooting at 63.4 percent, including a 5-for-10 effort Saturday. In the last seven games heading into WCC play he was 45-for-61 from the field, good for 73.7 percent. He went 3-for-6 Thursday. He is also ranked 4th in offensive rebounds at 2.5 and 8th in blocks at 0.9 per game. Senior Shamar Johnson returned to the line-up after missing the last two games due to injury, scoring 10 points with six rebounds and a career-best six assists. The Pensacola, Fla., native has become a leader for the Lions and is having his best season with 7.6 ppg and 5.0 rpg. He is 11th in the league in shooting at 41.9 percent and 6th with 2.0 offensive rebounds per game. Buay Tuach continues to do a little of everything for the Lions, ranking 26th in scoring (10.7 ppg), 14th in shooting (50.5 percent), 12th in assists (3.2 apg), 5th in steals (1.4 spg) and 12th in assist to turnover ration. The final senior in the rotation, Kelvin Amayo who was granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA, has been a big presence off the bench. In 18 minutes a game he is averaging 6.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.92 apg, and 0.92 spg.,
Sophomore transfer Trevor Manuel, who became eligible on Dec. 17, led the Lions in both conference games. He had a career-best 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting in 22 minutes against Saint Mary's. He went 4-for-4 from three in that game. Against BYU, he went for 16 points and seven rebounds. He was 7-for-9 from the field and hit 2-of-4 from three. In the two WCC games, he is tied for 7th in scoring (17.0 ppg), 7th in shooting (66.7 percent), 3rd in three-pointer percentage (75%) and three-pointers made (3.0 pg).
The Lions use their entire roster with the nine players used against No. 19 Saint Mary's the fewest in any game this season, as they have used at least 10 in every game. They used all 12 players on Saturday against Pepperdine. The Lions used their sixth starting line-up on Thursday with freshman Erik Johansson, who is 15th in the WCC in three-point shooting (41.2%), getting his first start. In leading the Lions in both games over the opening weekend, Manuel was the seventh different Lion to lead the team in scoring this season. Seven different Lions have led them in rebounding, including Manuel's career-best seven on Saturday.
For the first time in the month the Lions were outscored in the paint. Saint Mary's outscored the Lions 34-18 in the paint. They were back at it against BYU, outscoring them 40-26. In the post, the Lions are outscoring opponents 444 to 327 in points in the paint the first 13 games. The best of the season came in a 54-14 edge in points in the paint against UIW. It is the widest margin on record in last 20 years. In the win over the Rams on Dec. 19. They are 7-3 when scoring more points in the paint than their opponent.
Another key in the Lions' seven wins has been the glass. Against CSU, LMU had a 15-4 edge in second chance points thanks to a plus-9 rebounding edge over the Rams. They held a +5 edge against the Bears on Dec. 26 and held a +7 edge against BYU (42-35). The setback to BYU dropped them to 6-1 on the season when they out-rebound their opponent. Saint Mary's out-rebounded the Lions 38-26 on Thursday. Against UIW, LMU held a 43-30 edge on the glass and held a 21-7 advantage in second chance points. They are 6-0 when holding an edge in second chance points. BYU managed a 14-12 edge in second chance points.
The Lions shot over 50 percent from the field in back-to-back games, hitting 52.3 percent against Boise State after going for a season-best 57.4 percent in the win over Portland State. It is the first time the Lions have posted back-to-back games over 50 percent since December of 2009. They hit 62.1 percent in the second half to erase a 10-point deficit. On Dec. 19, they hit 50 percent in the second half against CSU to erase another 10-point deficit, hitting 13-for-26. They nearly did it again against UTA, hitting 55.6 percent in the second half and had a chance at the tie after tailing by nine with just over six minutes to play. The Lions went over 50 percent for the fourth time on the season with a 53.6 percent effort in the win over CSUN. LMU shot 50 percent or better just twice all of last year.
More rankings... the Lions are 2nd in the WCC in steals at 7.0 per game, 3rd in assists at 17.5 apg, 3rd in assist-to-turnover ration (1.3) and 2nd in turnover margin (+1.2)... The Lions lead the league in forcing 14.7 turnovers per game, including a season-high 19 by Saint Mary's. They are also the league leaders in offensive rebound percentage at 35.1%.
UPNEXTThe Lions will head to the road in West Coast Conference action, but they won't have to go far. Following the game with BYU, the Lions will travel to Pepperdine on Thursday, Jan. 5 for a 7 pm tip-off. The game can be seen on TheW.tv and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM. It will be a quick road trip as they will return home to face Santa Clara on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 3 pm. Saturday's game is a Little Lions Club game, with all members getting into the game FREE.
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