Jan. 30, 2013
The Last Meeting
February 11, 2012
Viney and Ireland's 47 Not Enough
For the first time in West Coast Conference play on the road, LMU men's basketball was out of sync from the beginning and never quite recovered as they drop their first conference road game of the season, 78-59, at Gonzaga on Saturday night.
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LOS ANGELES -- LMU men's basketball will see the highest ranked opponent come to Gersten Pavilion since 2006 when the seventh-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs visit on Thursday, Jan. 31 for an 8 pm tip-off. This will be the 13th ranked opponent for the Lions and third in the top-10 under Head Coach Max Good. The game will be televisied on ESPN2, WatchESPN.com and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE LIONS
The Lions are 8-12 overall, 1-6 in the WCC after dropping their last four. Anthony Ireland continues to pace the Lions at 20.0 points per game, ranking second in the WCC and 15th nationally. Ireland has gone perfect from the free throw line in the last four games and has missed just twice in 34 trips to the charity stripe (94.1 percent) in seven conference games, which is tops in the WCC as of Jan. 27. He is ranked seventh overall in the WCC, hitting 81.4 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 14.5 ppg and 6.7 rpg in his final season, ranking 9th and 8th, 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 WCC win over the Broncos, hitting 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) from long range, going 6-for-8 in the second half. SInce then it has been a struggle. During the four-game skid, the Lions have shot a combined 35.9 percent from the field, including a 28.3 percent clip against USF (the lowest since shooting 27.3 percent at Gonzaga on Jan. 15, 2011). Its been even more of a struggle from long range, as the Lions where ranked fourth in the WCC in three-point shooting following the Santa Clara game at 37.5 percent. In the four games since, the Lions have shot just 19-for-69 from three (27.5 percent ) and are now ranked seventh at 34.0 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 in four games, going 21-for-25 in the win over Santa Clara and 21-for-24 at San Diego. They are hitting 79.1 percent in conference play (ranked second) and are now ranked fourth overall in the league at 71.7 percent.
Juniors Ayodeji Egbeyemi and Alex Osborne have made an impact for the Lions with their best seasons at LMU. Egbeyemi, who along with Ireland has played and started every game this season, is ranked 22nd in the leauge, scoring 10.7 points per game, and is ninth in rebounding at 6.0 per game. He is also 10th in three-pointers made (1.6 pg), 11th in blocked shots (0.7 bpg) and is fourth in minutes played at 33.3. As for Osborne, he has started the last 11 games and has made an impact in the post. He is 11th in the league in steals and second on the team with 29 (1.5 spg). He is also 13th in blocked shots with 13 and 15th in offensive rebounds (1.8 orpg). He went for 10 points, four rebounds, four steals and three blocks against Pepperdine last Thursday.
AGAINST THE RANKED
The Lions are 4-4 in their last eight games against ranked opponents, earning a win against their fifth top-25 opponent of the 2011-12 season at #16 Saint Mary's on Feb. 15 to finish last season 3-2 against ranked teams. The five ranked opponents was the most since the 2008-09 season when they played five. This is the first of 2012-13, with the second match-up against the Zags coming just nine days later. At No. 7 in both the AP Poll and Coaches' Poll, the Bulldogs are the highest ranked team to play in Gersten Pavilion since the Zags came to Los Angeles ranked fifth on Feb. 18, 2006. This will be the fourth top-10 team to visit Gersten since that game. Notre Dame was No. 9 on Nov. 21, 2008 (L, 65-54) in Head Coach Max Good's first game, and the Zags were ranked No. 9 on Feb. 18, 2010, a 74-66 win for the Lions, their last against Gonzaga.
GOOD IN BIG GAMES
Under Max Good, who was was named WCC Coach of the Year in 2011-12, the Lions have found success in the big games under Good. The trip to the 2012 CIT was the team's second postseason trip in three seasons. Prior to Good's arrival, it was 20 years since the Lions last made a trip to postseason play. The game against Ole Miss was the 10th time under Good the Lions played a team from the "BCS" conferences. The Lions have three wins in those games, defeating USC (67-59), Notre Dame (87-85) and #18 UCLA (69-58), all on the road. The Lions picked up Good's 300th career win on Dec. 5 against Northern Arizona and he now has 61 wins at LMU. Good has led the Lions to more wins over ranked opponents, more road wins and more conference wins than any head coach since Paul Westhead.
INSIDE THE GAME
This will be the 80th meeting between LMU and Gonzaga, and like most series in the WCC, Gonzaga has dominted as of late. The Zags lead 58-21 all-time and are 22-13 at LMU. As mentioned, the last win came on Feb. 18, 2010 as the Zags have won five straight. LMU and its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) continues to take t-shirts for the Clothes-For-Souls program. Bins are located throughout Gersten Pavilion and fans are encourage to bring lightly used t-shirts and clothing during the 2012-13 basketball season. In addition, Thursday's game will be LMU's Service Organization Night at the Game as LMU recognizes is commitment to community service. LMU Rally towels will be the giveaway to all fans and the LMU Pregame Tailgate starts at 6:30 p.m. A special halftime performance will take place as the game is sponsored by The ROAR, ASLMU and LMU Center for Service and Action are sponsoring the game.
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 (Jan. 5) 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.
- GO LIONS -