Jan. 23, 2013
The Last Meeting
February 2, 2012
Lions Win Another Defensive Battle
The LMU men's basketball team earned a sweep of rival Pepperdine in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup thanks to a 67-57 win on Thursday night at Gersten Pavilion. Defense was key again as the Lions improve to 7-3 in the West Coast Conference and 14-9 overall.
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LOS ANGELES -- The Wells Fargo PCH Cup showdown between LMU and Pepperdine in 2013 will start in Gersten Pavilion as the Waves (9-9, 1-4 WCC) visit the Lions (8-11, 1-5) on Thursday, Jan. 24 for a rare 6 pm start time. LMU and Pepperdine will meet for the 157th time, the longest running series in program history, with the game live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and on KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE LIONS
The Lions are 8-11 overall, 1-5 in the WCC after dropping a pair of road games in conference play last week. San Diego forced the Lions into 17 turnovers and held a 23-12 edge in points off turnovers, while USF forced 14 LMU turnovers and went 22-4 in points off turnovers. The Lions shot 34.9 percent from the field in the two setbacks, including a 15-for-53 (28.3%) showing at San Francisco.
Junior Anthony Ireland went perfect from the free throw line for the third consecutive game against the Dons and has missed just twice in 30 trips to the charity stripe (93.3 percent) in six conference games. He had 19 points against the Toreros and 13 against USF, putting his average at 20.3 points per game on the season, which is ranked 13th (as of Jan. 20) 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 80.7 percent from the free throw line. Ireland has been featured in some multimedia segments the past couple weeks, check them out:
- WCC This Week Segment via YouTube.com/WCCSports
- LMU Magazine inside look "Ice Man" via Magazine.LMU.edu
Senior Ashley Hamilton is having his best season as a Lion, scoring 15 points with eight rebounds against San Diego, giving him a thousand points and 500 rebounds in his career, the 14th player in program history to reach those milestones. He is averaging 14.7 ppg and 6.8 rpg in his final season, ranking 11th and seventh, respectively, 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. On the flip side, the Lions held Santa Clara to just 40 percent shooting in the win on Jan. 10, but saw Portland hit 54.7 percent in the setback on Jan. 12 while just shooting just 37.7 percent.
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 in four of the last five games, going 21-for-25 in the win over Santa Clara and 21-for-24 on Wednesday against San Diego. They are hitting 80.9 percent in conference play (which is ranked second) and are now ranked third overall in the league at 72.0 percent. Ireland is among the WCC leaders (fourth) in conference play at 93.3 percent while hitting 80.7 percent overall (ranked 7th in the WCC. Ashley Hamilton in 14th overall at 77.4 percent.
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.
INSIDE THE GAME
This will be the 157th meeting all-time between LMU and Pepperidne in men's basketball history, the 71st on the LMU campus. The Lions have won five of the last six meetings against the Waves, sweeping the season series last season, doing it for the first time since 1996. The game will be part of the Wells Fargo PCH Cup, which began in the 2009-10 season pitting the two crosstown rivals just 19.1 miles apart in a head-to-head competition among the 12 intercollegiate programs they share in common. The game is sponsored by Wells Fargo, the Loyolan and the Roar, and is Fraternity Night at the Game. The Loyolan will once again have its annual student giveaway and the LMU Pregame Tailgate Party will make its first appearance in 2013, starting at 4:30 pm in the Burns Parking Lot. The annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers campaign (see below for more) is this weekend, and the Lions will participate during the game by wearing sneakers with their suits.
MORE ON THE MATCH-UP
The Lions earned a 68-58 win over the Waves in Malibu on Jan. 12 and then a 67-57 win at home on Feb. 2 in the series a year ago. It was the Lions first win in Malibu since an overtime victory in 1998. Anthony Ireland averaged 15 points in the series last year, going for 21 in the win on the road. He is averaging 12.5 points while going for 16 assists and just five turnovers in his career against the Waves. The Waves are 9-9 on the season and 1-4 in the WCC, having played four of their five games in conference at home. They fell to Santa Clara on Jan. 19, 83-76, despite hitting 66.7 percent (8-for-12) from three. They have had success on defense, leading the league in field goal percentage defense while sitting fourth in scoring defense. They are holding opponents to 40.4 percent from the field on the year. Lorne Jackson leads the Waves at 14.3 points per game while Stacy Davis averages 10.3 ppg and a team-best 7.1 rpg.
Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend
The 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend will be held January 25 to January 27. Suits and Sneakers is a national Coaches vs. Cancer event that is designed to raise awareness about the fight against cancer and the American Cancer Society by encouraging member coaches and their coaching staffs to wear sneakers with their suits at games held that weekend to show support for the Coaches vs. Cancer program. By wearing sneakers, participating coaches help raise awareness about cancer and the importance that nutrition and physical activity play in reducing one's risk of the disease. Additionally, this weekend helps promote the American Cancer Society as a place for people facing cancer to turn for free information, day-to-day help, and emotional support.
Chase Flint (who ranked 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 was diagnoised to miss four to six weeks from that point. 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.
Due to the Lions' short bench, players have been asked to step-in for the Lions. Alex Osborne has made 10 starts since filling in for Godwin Okonji when he had his emergency surgery. He is averaging 4.2 points and 4.5 rebounds while ranking 13th in the league in steals with 25 (1.32 spg). Bruce English earned his fifth start of his career against USF and his best game as a Lions, going for career-best with 12 points and eight rebounds. He is averaging 5.8 ppg and 1.5 rpg. Walk-on Taylor Walker has provided big minutes at the point for the Lions. The fifth-year senior who is in his second season with the Lions, played a career-high 15 minutes against USF.
- GO LIONS -