Jan. 6, 2012
LMU men's basketball will continue its opening stretch of five of their first seven games in West Coast Conference play on the road when they head to San Diego to face the Toreros on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. Both teams are coming off tough setbacks in their home openers on Thursday; with the Lions (8-7, 1-1) falling to BYU while San Diego (5-9, 0-2) once again gave Saint Mary's all they could handle in a 78-72 setback. The game can ge heard on KXLU 88.9 FM and online through LMULions.com.
INSIDE THE LIONS
LMU opened WCC play with a 77-76 overtime win at San Francisco on Dec. 31 and then fell to BYU in the home opener on Jan. 5, 73-65. The Lions have played in three overtime games in a season for the first time since 2007-09, winning all three. The Lions have never won three overtime games in a single season. LMU is 8-7 overall and 1-1 in the WCC.
Drew Viney returned to the line-up on Dec. 27 against Vanguard and scored a game-high 29 points with eight rebounds. He had 15 points against USF and then a 13-point, eight-rebound performance against BYU. He has played five games on the season and is averaging 15.4 points per contest. He is one of three Lions (active) in double figures for the season. Sophomore Anthony Ireland averages 14.5 while junior Jarred DuBois averages 10.4. Freshman C.J. Blackwell led the Lions with 19 points in his WCC opener, and is fifth on the team with 8.9 points. Redshirt junior Ashley Hamilton averaged 15.3 points through the first three games before his foot injury. He has been cleared to practice but was not in uniform against BYU.
The last three weeks Anthony Ireland has been racking up the assists. He had 21 assists in the final two non-conference games, going for a career-high 11 against Morgan State on Dec. 21. According to records, its is the most in back-to-back games since Terrell Lowery in 1990. He has 13 in the two WCC games, going for seven against BYU. He leads the team with 5.33 apg, ranking third in the WCC.
The Lions entered the week leading the league in free throw percentage, and they are now hitting 73.0 percent after going 14-for-21 from the charity stripe Thursday. The Lions' top-six scorers hit better than 75 percent, including LaRon Armstead's 87.8 percent, which as of Jan. 1 is second in the conference. He is 36-for-41 on the season. Jarred DuBois leads the team at 91.3 percent (21-for-23 - but doesn't qualify for WCC rankings). Anthony Ireland entered the ween 13th in the league and is now hitting 76.5 percent after a 5-for-6 effort Thursday.
LMU also leads the league in three-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 31.0 percent from long range. The Lions have held seven teams under 30 percent for the game, including UCLA's 13.3 percent and North Texas' 15.8 percent.
The Lions are 3-1 in their last four games against ranked opponents. They started the season with a 69-58 win over No. 17 UCLA and with the win over No. 22 Saint Louis, they have now beaten a ranked-opponent in consecutive chances for the first time since the 1989-90 NCAA Tournament.
Junior Ashley Hamilton, who was the Lions' leading scorer after three games, played 16 minutes against Harvard, scoring eight points before he left with a injury to his right foot. He began practice on Monday and was not in uniform for BYU on Thursday... Senior Tim Diederichs has missed the last two games due a strain in his right foot and is day-to-day. He played four minutes against BYU... Prior to the team's departure to San Francisco, redshirt sophomore Edgar Garibay asked for and was granted his release from the LMU men's basketball program. Garibay played 37 games in three season, earning a medical redshirt in his freshman season in 2009-10 after tearing his ACL.
This will be the 83rd all-time meeting between LMU and San Diego, who first played in 1956. The Lions hold a 42-40 edge in the series with the teams winning on their home floor to split the series in 2010-11.
AT THE POINT
Sophomore Anthony Ireland started the season scoring 22 or more points in four of his last five games, while averaging 21 points per game in that stretch dating back to the Lions' finale against Santa Clara last season. His 26-point effort against Harvard was a career-high. He is one of two Lions to play every game this season and he is second in the WCC in minutes played at 35.4 per game. He entered the week ranked eighth in the WCC in scoring and now averages 14.5 points per game after going for 21 against BYU Thursday. He also had seven assists against the Cougars to raise his average to 5.33 per game. He entered the week ranked third in assists in the WCC. He became just the second Lion since 1998 to earn a double-double with points and assists when he did it against Vanguard (14 pts, 10 asts). He now has 175 career assists to rank 27th all-time. He also entered the week ranked is fifth in the WCC with 1.4 steals per game.
Senior LaRon Armstead came off the bench to score 22 points against then #22 Saint Louis, becoming the Lions' senior leader and a mainstay in the Lions' rotation since. He went for double figures in six of seven games before the Morgan State game and has now played in 90 games for the Lions in his career, scoring 539 points with 255 rebounds. He is fifth on the team with 8.9 points per game while adding 3.1 rebounds 10 steals. He is second in the WCC in free throws, hitting 36-for-41 (87.8 percent). He is also 16-for-49 from three.
After ending 2010-11 on fire - he scored over 20 points in five straight games to average 23 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 bpg and 1.2 spg in those final six games - redshirt senior Drew Viney entered 2011-12 needing just a single point to become the 31st player in LMU history to reach 1,000 career points. After having to miss the first six games due to a stress fracture in his foot, it took exactly 12 seconds in his first game back against Columbia to hit the century mark. Viney knocked down a 12-foot jumper to become the 31st player in school history to reach a 1,000 points. After missing three games due to soreness in the foot, he returned to the line-up against Vanguard, scoring 29 points with eight rebounds. He added 15 points with four rebounds against USF. He now has 1,063 points to rank 29th all-time at LMU. He also needs 79 rebounds (421) to become just the 13th player in LMU history to have 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds. He is also ranked seventh all-time with 67 blocks, earning three so far this season.
Redshirt junior Jarred DuBois, who began play with the Lions in the same 2008-09 campaign with senior LaRon Armstead, played just five games a year ago due to foot surgery and was granted a medical redshirt. He has returned in a big way, averaging 10.4 points per game while entering the week ranked 12th in the WCC in assists. He continues to climb the record books at LMU, entering the San Diego game he needs just 19 points to become the 32nd player in LMU history to reach a 1,000 points, sitting at 981 career points after scoring 13 Thursday. He is also ranked eighth all-time with 129 career three-pointers, fifth with a career free throw percentage of 84.2 percent and 18th with 209 career assists.
IN THE POST
After two games in WCC play, LMU's post players are hitting 62.1 percent (118-190) from the field on the season. Redshirt sophomore Alex Osborne has taken off in conference, going 3-for-3 from the field with eight points and a career best 11 rebounds against BYU. He is now hitting 64.5 percent (20-for-31). He was 3-for-4 with five rebounds and a career-best five steals off the bench against USF. Starter Godwin Okonji and Quincy Lawson are 55.8 and 59.5 percent, respectively from the field. Okonji has hit 24-for-43 while Lawson is 25-for-42. Okonji leads the team in blocks with 13, ranking sixth in the WCC, while Lawson is second with seven, ranking 14th.
- GO LIONS -