Grueling WCC Start Continues in Home Opener
LMU returns home for WCC opener, taking on Santa Clara Thursday.
Jan. 9, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- The grueling start to West Coast Conference play continues for LMU men's basketball but shifts home for the first time at Gersten Pavilion when the Lions host a pair of games on the week. It begins with Santa Clara on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. It is the Lions' third straight opponent with 12 wins on the season with their last three opponents combining to post 76.6 winning percentage. Follow the action live on LMULions.com and listen on KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE GAME
INSIDE THE LIONS
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 10th in the WCC in scoring and sixth in rebounds. He is also fourth in the WCC in offensive rebounds and eighth in defensive rebounds. He has 517 rebounds in his career, the 25th Lion to crack 500 rebounds for a career. He is ranked 22nd all-time at LMU.
Redshirt junior Alex Osborne has started the last six 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. Against Saint Mary's he led the Lions with eight rebounds while scoring 10 points with two blocks and two steals. He is 19th in the league in rebounding at 4.8 rpg, 15th in blocks with 0.6 bpg and 14th with 1.20 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, ranking sixth 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 missed the game against Saint Mary's due to a right knee injury suffered against BYU. He has not practiced on the week and probably will not play on Thursday. His status will be evaluated on Wednesday. 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 17th 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.
In the seven wins for the LIons this season, they have showed strength on the glass. They closed non-conference with a +35 edge on the boards lin a pair of wins. They went +23 against against Morgan State (56-33) and +12 (33-21) over CSUB. Additionally, the Lions out rebounded Texas State 48-32 and Portland State 41-27. The Lions are second in the WCC with 38.6 rebounds per game. The Lions lead the league best 12.8 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 10.8 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game, ranking 20th and ninth 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 (6.7). Ashley Hamilton leads the team at 43.6 percent, which is ranked sixth in the WCC. Anthony Ireland is second on the team hitting 40.7 percent, which is ranked 11th 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.