Jan. 11, 2012
Starting West Coast Conference play with five of their first seven on the road, LMU men's basketball has started that stretch by winning its first two away from home. However, they now brace for what has become one of the toughest places to play - Pepperdine. The Lions (9-7, 2-1) head to the rival Waves (7-8, 1-3) on Thursday, Jan. 12 for the first of two Wells Fargo PCH Cup showdowns. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., on ESPNU and KXLU 88.9 FM. The game will also be streamed on ESPN3.com.
INSIDE THE LIONS
LMU improved to 2-0 on the road in WCC play and 4-2 overall on the road with a 79-68 win over San Diego on Saturday, Jan. 7. The Lions won back-to-back road games in conference play for the first time since 2006, when they also defeated San Francisco and San Diego. The Lions are 9-7 overall and 2-1 in the WCC.
The Lions have played in three overtime games in a season for the first time since 2007-08, winning all three. It is the first time in program history the Lions have won three overtime games in a single season.
Drew Viney returned to the line-up on Dec. 27 against Vanguard and scored a game-high 29 points with eight rebounds. He led the Lions with 20 points and eight rebounds in the win at San Diego, adding two assists, a block and two steals. He has played six games on the season and is averaging 16.2 points per contest. With the return of Ashley Hamilton to the line-up on Saturday, Viney is one of four Lions in double figures for the season. Hamilton returned to the line-up for the first time since injuring his foot on Nov. 19, going for 16 points and seven rebounds against the Toreros. In four games, he is averaging 15.5 points and 4.0 rebounds with seven steals. Sophomore Anthony Ireland is fourth in the WCC with 14.6 points while junior Jarred DuBois averages 10.4.
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 17 in the three WCC games, going for seven against BYU. He leads the team with 5.25 apg, ranking third in the WCC.
The Lions enter the week leading the league in free throw percentage, hitting 73.4 percent after going 18-for-23 (78.3 percent) from the charity stripe Saturday. The Lions' top-six scorers hit better than 76 percent, including LaRon Armstead's 88.1 percent, which as of Jan. 9 is third in the conference. He is 37-for-42 on the season. Jarred DuBois leads the team at 92.0 percent (23-for-25 - but doesn't qualify for WCC rankings). Anthony Ireland enters the week 13th in the league and is hitting 77.4 percent (41-for-53). Drew Viney and Ashley Hamilton are hitting 85.2 and 80.8 percent from the line, with Hamilton going 7-for-10 in his return against San Diego on Saturday.
LMU is second in the league in three-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 31.4 percent (BYU is first at 31.3 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 missed 12 games before returning against San Diego on Jan. 7... Senior Drew Viney missed 10 of the Lions' first 12 games after a stress fracture in his foot the week prior to the start of the season in October. He returned to the line-up full-time with a 29-point, 8-rebound performance against Vanguard on Dec. 27... Prior to the team's departure to San Francisco Dec. 31, 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.
GAME #17 - WELLS FARGO PCH CUP
This will be the 155th all-time meeting between LMU and Pepperdine, the longest running series in program history. Firestone Fieldhouse has been a house of horrors for the Lions of late, as the Waves have won 14 straight games (since 1997) at Firestone, including the last three games by a total of nine combined points. The Lions won the last meeting in the series, defeating Pepperdine 82-79 at Gersten Pavilion on Feb. 16, 2011. This is the first of two meeting for points in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup. Separated by 19.1 miles of scenic coastline, the series serves as an annual scorecard for the NCAA-sponsored athletic contests between the Lions and Waves, who are represented by 12 of their intercollegiate athletic teams through both regular and postseason competitions over the course of the academic calendar. One point is awarded for both home and neutral-site wins, including conference championships; however, 1.5 points is earned for road victories.The university with the highest point total accumulated throughout the year will be named PCH Challenge Champion and awarded the PCH Cup.
AT THE POINT
Sophomore Anthony Ireland started the season scoring 22 or more points in four of 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 35.6 per game. He enters the week ranked fourth in the WCC in scoring and now averages 14.6 points per game after going for 21 against BYU Thursday. He also had seven assists against the Cougars to raise his average to 5.25 per game. He enters 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 assists). He now has 179 career assists to rank 27th all-time. He also entered the week ranked is fifth in the WCC with 1.56 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 91 games for the Lions in his career, scoring 542 points with 255 rebounds. He is sixth on the team with 8.5 points per game while adding 2.9 rebounds 10 steals. He is third in the WCC in free throws, hitting 37-for-42 (88.1 percent). He also has hit 16 three-pointers, one of five players on the team to hit on average more than one three-pointer per game.
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 more games due to soreness in the foot, he returned to the line-up against Vanguard, scoring 29 points with eight rebounds. He now has 1,096 points to rank 29th all-time at LMU. He also needs 63 rebounds (437) 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 69 blocks, earning five 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 13th in the WCC in assists (2.8 apg). He continues to climb the record books at LMU, entering the Pepperdine game he needs just 10 points to become the 32nd player in LMU history to reach a 1,000 points, sitting at 991 career points after scoring 10 Saturday. 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
So far this season, LMU's post players are hitting 60.7 percent (122-201) 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 60.6 percent (20-for-33). 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 58.1 percent, respectively from the field. Okonji has hit 24-for-43 while Lawson is 25-for-43. Okonji leads the team in blocks with 13, ranking eighth in the WCC.
- GO LIONS -