Road Swing Renews Rivalry With Dons

Taylor Walker

Jan. 18, 2013

The Last Meeting
San Francisco (WCC Champs - Quarterfinals)67
Loyola Marymount60
March 2, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
Turnovers, Three's Hurt Lions
LMU hit just 32 percent from the field in the second half and had 17 turnovers as San Francisco used 11 three-pointers for the second straight night to earn a 67-60 win over the Lions in the first quarterfinal of the 2012 West Coast Conference Championships on Friday night at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

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GAME: LMU (8-10, 1-4) at San Francisco (7-11, 0-5)
DATE/TIME: Jan. 19, 2013 // 1:30 p.m. (PST)
LOCATION: War Memorial Gym. // San Francisco, CA
TV: Time Warner Cable SportsNet
RADIO: KXLU 88.9 FM (Jesse Kass)
MOBILE STATS: StatBroadcast
RESOURCES: GameDay Central
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SAN FRANCISCO -- LMU men's basketball continues a busy opening stretch to the West Coast Conference season when they travel to San Diego on Wednesday, Jan. 16 for a 7 pm tip-off. The Lions (8-9, 1-3) begin their second two-game WCC road swing of the season against WCC unbeaten San Diego (10-8, 3-0), who is coming off a road sweep last week. The game will be aired live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.

• The Lions are 8-10 overall, 1-4 in the WCC after falling at San Diego on Wednesday, 78-70. San Diego forced the Lions into 17 turnovers and held a 23-12 edge in points off turnovers. Anthony Ireland led the Lions with 19 points while Ashley Hamilton added 15 points and eight rebounds, surpassing 1,000 points for his career. He becomes the 14th Lion in program history to score 1,000 points with 500 rebounds in a career.

• Junior Anthony Ireland went perfect from the free throw line for the second consecutive game against the Toreros and has missed just twice in 26 trips to the charity stripe (92.3 percent) in five conference games. He had 19 points against the Toreros, putting his average at 20.7 points per game on the season, which is ranked 12th (as of Jan. 13) in college basketball (NCAA-I) and second in the WCC (WCC rankings on page 2). In the last four games at home, Ireland has averaged 26.3 points, 4.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds while shooting 46.4 percent from the field, 54.2 percent from three (13-for-24) and 93.3 percent (28-for-30) from the charity stripe, going 14-for-15 in the last WCC homestand. He is ranked ninth overall in the WCC, hitting 80 percent from the free throw line.

• Senior Ashley Hamilton is having his best season as a Lion, scoring 15 points with eight rebounds against San Diego, putting him at 1,006 points and 534 rebounds in his career. He is the 14th player in program history to reach those milestones as he is averaging 15.1 ppg and 6.8 rpg in his final season, ranking seventh in both within the WCC.

• All about shooting: The Lions have had five games when hitting better than 50 percent from three and hold a 4-1 record in those games. They did it in their first WCC win over the Broncos, hitting 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) from long range, going 6-for-8 in the second half. Ireland went 3-for-6 while freshman Nick Stover came off the bench to hit both of his attempts to finish with six points in 13 minutes. The Lions are third in the league in three-point shooting at 37.3 percent. Anthony Ireland is fifth in the WCC hitting 42.5 percent (hitting 7-of-14 last week) and Ashley Hamilton is sixth at 42.2 percent. On the flip side, the Lions held Santa Clara to just 40 percent shooting in the win on Thursday, but saw Portland hit 54.7 percent in the setback Saturday. The Lions are 0-5 when opponents do that this season, including all three WCC setbacks.

• Charity Stripe: Since the start of conference play, the Lions have started to climb in the rankings in free throw shooting. They have shot better than 80 percent the last four games, going 21-for-25 in the win over Santa Clara and 21-for-24 on Wednesday against San Diego. They are hitting 83.7 percent in conference play and are now ranked third overall in the league at 71.9 percent. Ireland is among the WCC leaders in conference play at 92.3 percent while Ashley Hamilton has hit 82.6 percent against WCC foes.

Buzzer-beaters, clutch shots, huge rallies, defensive stands, WCC tourney showdowns; you name it, the series of late between LMU and San Francisco has featured a little of everything. The two will renew that rivalry on Saturday when they meet 144th time on Saturday in the WCC Game of the Week. The Lions swept the season series a year ago but then fell in the WCC tournament quarterfinals, 67-60 on Mar. 2. No series in recent history has been as close as the one with San Francisco. Starting in the first full season under Head Coach Max Good, the teams have played eight times with the combined score sitting at 590-579 in favor of the Dons, that is a difference of 1.3 points per game the last eight. The last two seasons it has been even closer, here is a look at the last five meetings of the regular season:
Jan. 27, 2011 - USF 61, at LMU 60
Michael Williams hits three-pointer with less than a minute left as Dons erase 17-point second half deficit.
Feb. 26, 2011 - at USF 77, LMU 75
Cody Doolin hit only shot of game on a three-pointer with 49 seconds left and Lions miss three shots in final seconds.
Dec. 31, 2011 - LMU 77, at USF 76
Anthony Ireland hits a runner with 1.6 seconds left in overtime for win as Dons erase 19-point deficit to send it to overtime.
Feb. 4, 2012 - at LMU 90, USF 88
Lions hit 10 three-pointers in second half to erase 16-point deficit in final 7:30 as Drew Viney hit runner in final minute.
Mar. 2, 2012 USF 67, LMU 60 (WCC Tournament)
Playing in the quarterfinals of the WCC tournament for the second time in three years, the Dons hit 11 three-pointers and forced the Lions into 17 turnovers in a game that LMU led by one at the half and featured 11 lead changes or ties.

Chase Flint (who ranks seventh in the WCC in minutes played at 32.6 mpg and eighth in assists with 4.29 apg, while averaging 6.6 points per game) missed the game against Saint Mary's due to a stress reaction in his left shin, becoming the second Lion starter to miss games due to injury/illness. He will miss four to six weeks. Godwin Okonji missed two games earlier this season as he underwent an emergency Laparoscopic Appendectomy on the evening Dec. 12. Okonji was up and missed the Lions' games against Ole Miss and Saint Louis, but returned against Morgan State on Dec. 27, just 15 days after surgery. It has been a tough season for Okonji, whose father passed away in Africa at the start of the season in November. The Lions bench is already thin due to redshirts to sophomore C.J. Blackwell (will apply for a medical redshirt at the end of the year), transfer Ben Dickinson (due to NCAA transfer rules) and freshman Taj Adams (coaches' decision). That leaves just seven scholarship players available for the Lions as conference play continues. Blackwell missed his fourth game of the season against Saint Louis due to the same knee issues that saw him miss the first three games of the season. With the issues remaining, he will miss the remainder of the season and Blackwell will look to apply for a medical redshirt at the end of the season.





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