Toughest of Road Trips Up Next for Lions
Men's basketball begins road-heavy portion of schedule with fifth-ranked Gonzaga on Thursday in Spokane, Wash.
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LOS ANGELES - LMU men's basketball will make its annual trip to the Pacific Northwest as West Coast Conference play continues. The Lions will play six of their next eight on the road, starting with the fifth-ranked Gonzaga on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 6 pm. The game can be seen on ROOT Northwest/Rocky Mountain/Southwest, CSN California and out-of-region on TheW.tv and ESPN3. The game will be live on KXLU 88.9 FM.
|Date | Time:||Thursday, Jan. 12 | 6 pm (PT)|
|Where:||McCarthey Athletic Center | Spokane, WA|
|GAME PREVIEW:||LMU Game Notes | GU Game Notes|
|The Match-up:||LMU: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
GU: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
|Live Broadcast:||ROOT Northwest/Rocky Mountain/Southwest, CSN California | TheW.tv (out-of-market), ESPN3 (out of region)|
|RADIO:||KXLU 88.9 FM | Listien Online|
|GameDay Info:||GAMEDAY CENTRAL | BUY TICKETS | COMING TO LMU|
THE MATCH-UP The senior led Lions continue their season defined as the Cardiac Lions as they enter the week at 8-7 overall and 1-3 in the WCC. The Lions had their fourth one-point decision in the last eight match-ups on Thursday, falling to rival Pepperdine 71-70 at the buzzer. They then picked-up their first WCC win over the season, earning a 66-56 win over Santa Clara on Thursday. Eight of LMU's last 12 games decided in the last 10 seconds of the game (record of 3-5). The Lions are 4-5 in games decided by less than seven points, going 2-2 in one-point games, 1-2 in three-point games, the five-point setback against BYU and the seven-point win over Southern Utah. Brandon Brown leads the Lions with 13.9 ppg and 5.27 apg. Buay Tuach led the Lions with 18 points against Pepperdine and averages 11.2 ppg, 3.1 apg and 4.6 rpg. He missed the game Saturday with a knee injury. He will be a game time decision this weekend. Stefan Jovanovic has scored in double figures in 10 of the last 11 games and averages 11.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg.
Gonzaga once again features one of the best team's in the nation, sitting at 15-0 overall and 3-0 in the WCC. Their game Saturday at Portland was postponed due to weather. The Zags and Baylor are the only undefeated teams in the nation. Nationally, they rank fourth in scoring margin (+20.5), third in three-point field goal defense (28.0%), sixth in defensive rebounds (30.2), 14th in total rebounds per game (41.2), 17th in scoring offense (85.5 ppg) 37th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.35), 38th in rebound margin (+6.1), 38th in assists per game (16.7), and 41st in scoring defense (65.0).
This will be the 89th in the series between Gonzaga and LMU. Like the rest of the WCC, Gonzaga has a commanding lead in the series. They have won the last 14 overall (last falling to LMU in 2010) and have won 26 straight in Spokane.
INSIDE THE LIONS The Lions are 8-7, 1-3 on the season as they enter Thursday's game. The Lions won five of their last six games in non-conference and had a season-best four-game winning streak. The 66-56 win over Santa Clara snapped a three-game skid, two of which came in the final 10 seconds. Here is a look at the last month of the Cardiac season for the Lions:
- Dec. 10 - LMU 69, CSUN 68 - Stefan Jovanovic hits a put-back with nine seconds remaining and Lions defense deflects shot at the buzzer for road win.
- Dec. 17 - LMU 91, UIW 90 (ot) - Down eight in second half, Lions hit 11 straight free throws to end regulation, and defense holds on two UIW shots at the buzzer.
- Dec. 19 - LMU 69, CSU 66 - LMU erases 10 point deficit in final nine minutes as Brandon Brown hits three-pointer with 0.9 seconds left for road win.
- Dec. 22 - UTA 80, LMU 77 - LMU trailed by 9 with 6:30 to play and a pair of three-pointers at buzzer don't fall.
- Dec. 31 - BYU 81, LMU 75 - LMU led by 10 with 9:01 to play but TJ Haws hit back-to-back three- pointers, the second coming with 36 seconds to play, gave the Cougars the 79-76 lead. LMU had a chance to tie with 10 seconds left but the shot was blocked.
- Jan. 5 - Pepperdine 71, LMU 70 - LMU led by seven with 7:54 to play but Waves hit put-back with 1.6 left for one-point win.
The 56 points allowed to Santa Clara was the eighth time this season the Lions have held an opponent under 70 points. They improved to 7-1 in those games. In addition, they held the Broncos to 36.8 percent from the field. It is the ninth opponent the Lions held to under 45% shooting in a game, improving to 7-2 in those games. The Lions are 7-1 when shooting better than their opponent, 7-1 when out-rebounding them and 7-1 when scoring more second chance points. All of which they did against Santa Clara.
More rankings... the Lions are 2nd in the WCC in steals at 6.9 per game, 3rd in assists at 16.9 apg, 4th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3), 2nd in offensive rebounds (12.2) and 2nd in turnover margin (+1.5)... The Lions lead the league in forcing 14.3 turnovers per game, including a season-high 19 by Saint Mary's. They turned the ball over just six times while forcing Pepperdine into 12 on Jan. 5. They are also the 2nd in offensive rebound percentage at 34.1%.
Brown and Jovanovic are two of five seniors pacing the Lions this season. Within the WCC, Brown is 13th in scoring (13.9 ppg) and 4th in assists (5.3 apg). He is also 4th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5). 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 10 of the last 11 games. He ranks 20th in scoring (11.3 ppg), 18th in rebounds (5.3) and 3rd in shooting at 60.7 percent. He is also ranked 3rd in offensive rebounds at 2.5 and 9th in blocks at 0.9.
Senior Buay Tuach continues to do a little of everything for the Lions, leading the Lions with those 18 points against Pepperdine, adding five rebounds, two assists and block and a steal. He ranks 22nd in scoring (11.2 ppg), 12th in shooting (51.8 percent), 12th in assists (3.1 apg), 5th in steals (1.4 spg) and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). He did not play Saturday due to knee injury suffered against Pepperdine. He will be a game time decision this week.
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 against BYU. He had 10 points and three rebounds against Pepperdine and went for 12 points and eight rebounds against Santa Clara. The Pensacola, Fla., native has become a leader for the Lions and is having his best season with 8.2 ppg and 5.1 rpg. He is 15th in the league in shooting at 48.5 percent and 7th with 2.0 offensive rebounds per game. 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 17.5 minutes a game he is averaging 6.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.79 apg, and 0.86 spg. He had nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal against Santa Clara.
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 other game. They used all 12 players on Dec. 31 against BYU and on Thursday against Pepperdine. The Lions used their eighth starting line-up against Santa Clara with Munis Tutu earning his first start of the season and Petr Herman starting at center. Sophomore transfer Trevor Manuel, who became eligible on Dec. 17, led the Lions in the first two conference games. He had a career-best 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting in 22 minutes against Saint Mary's. Against BYU, he went for 16 points and seven rebounds. 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, including a commanding 36-18 edge over Santa Clara. In the post, the Lions are outscoring opponents 520 to 377 in points in the paint the first 15 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 7-4 when scoring more points in the paint than their opponent. They outscored Pepperdine 40-32.
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). They were +6 against Santa Clara and improved to 7-1 on the season when they out-rebound their opponent. Saint Mary's out-rebounded the Lions 38-26 on Dec. 29 and Pepperdine had a 34-32 edge on Jan. 5. Against UIW, LMU held a 43-30 edge on the glass and held a 21-7 advantage in second chance points. They are 7-1 when holding an edge in second chance points. They outscored Santa Clara 7-5.
The match-up with No. 19 Saint Mary's was the first ranked opponent for the Lions since Feb. 12, 2015 when the Lions face No. 2/3 Gonzaga. The Lions faced three ranked opponents in the 2014-15 season, including No. 14 Wichita State at the Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 22 and No. 3 Gonzaga in the first meeting. In the 2013 season at the West Coast Conference Championships they faced No. 1 Gonzaga, in the WCC semifinals. It was the first time the Lions faced the No. 1 team in the nation since 1989. Fittingly, the last time the Lions had to face a No. 1 was actually in Las Vegas. In the historic 1989-90 season, LMU would open with preseason No. 1 UNLV on Nov. 15, 1989, falling 102-91. LMU has played a No. 1 (AP only) seven times, five of them coming against conference foe USF. The Lions are 4-13 in their last 17 games against ranked opponents.
PROMOTIONS/UPNEXTLions' fans can watch LMU taking on fifth-ranked Gonzaga at the official Watch Party hosted by Bowlero. Located on Lincoln Boulevard, Bowlero is the place to be to watch the Lions. From 5 pm to midnight enjoy midnight bowling for just $11 when you mention "LMU" at the door. With great food and great, watch the Lions on one of the many big screens throughout the bowling alley and be #LIONSTRONG. Following the match-up with Gonzaga, LMU will stay in the Pacific Northwest, heading to Portland on Jan. 14 at 7 pm.
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