Road Swing Ends With Dons
The Lions will play first meeting of the season against San Francisco to end three-game road swing.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - The three-game road swing for the LMU men's basketball team will end on Saturday, Feb. 4 when they travel to San Francisco to face the Dons for the first time this season. The Lions (11-11, 4-7) are coming off a 19-point win over San Diego while the Dons (16-8, 6-5) earned a 77-56 win over Pepperdine. Game time is set for 7 pm and the game can be seen on TheW.tv and heard at KXLU 88.9 FM.
|Date | Time:||Saturday, Feb. 4 | 7 pm|
|Where:||War Memorial at Sobrato Center | San Francisco, CA|
|Game Preview:||LMU Game Notes|
|The Match-Up:||LMU: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
USF: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
|Radio:||KXLU 88.9 FM | Listien Online|
|GameDay Info:||GAMEDAY CENTRAL | BUY TICKETS | COMING TO LMU|
THE MATCH-UP Senior led LMU continues their season defined as the Cardiac Lions as they enter Saturday at 11-11 overall and 4-7 in the WCC. Thursday's 72-53 win broke the mold as 11 of LMU's 22 games have been decided in the last 10 seconds of the contest (record of 4-7). LMU has played 14 games decided by eight points or less, going 6-8 in those contests after the eight-point setback at BYU on Jan. 28, 85-77. LMU is 3-3 in one-point games, 1-2 in three-point games, the five-point setback against BYU (Dec. 31), the 79-73 win over the Tigers on Jan. 26, and 1-1 in seven-point games.
San Francisco is having a success first season under new head coach Kyle Smith, sitting at 16-8 overall and 6-5 in the WCC after the 21-point win at home Thursday over the Waves. Like the Lions, USF plays a full rotation, with nine games playing in at least 23 games and 10 guys averaging more than 10 minutes per game. Bonnie Boyce and Charles Minlend lead the Dons in scoring at 14.5 and 10.5 ppg, respectively, coming off the bench. The Dons are 9-3 at home this season and 4-1 in neutral games.
This will be the 153rd meeting between LMU and USF, one of three longest running series in LMU program history. The Lions swept the season series a year ago and have won two in a row at War Memorial (now The Sobrato Center), which hasn't been the kindest of places to play for WCC opponents in it's storied history. This includes the Dons picking up back-to-back national titles (1955, `56) under LMU alum Phil Wolpert. The Lions 87-83 win on Jan. 14, 2016, gave Head Coach Mike Dunlap and his Lions back-to-back wins in San Francisco, just the fourth time in program history. They last did it in 2005 and 2006. Other "runs" in War Memorial came with a three-game streak in 1990-92, a pair of win in 1970 and 1971 and a four-game run in the Lions' first WCC title run, 1959 through the 1962 season.
INSIDE THE LIONS The Lions are 11-11, 4-7 on the season after the 72-53 win on Thursday. Last weekend they split a pair of games and they were the 13th and 14th game decided by eight points or less. Here is a look at some of the latest buzzer beaters from 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.
- Jan. 14 - LMU 79, Portland 78 - Down five with 55 seconds to play, the Lions forced back-to-back turnovers, got a jumper from Brandon Brown, an offensive put-back by Kelvin Amayo, the game-winner lay-up from Brown with five seconds left and a block by Shamar Johnson at the buzzer to pull out the win.
- Jan. 21 - Santa Clara 64, LMU 63 - Jared Brownridge hit a 25-foot three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to lift the Broncos to the thrilling win.
DEPTH: The Lions get the most out of their roster, using all 12 active players the last two games against BYU and USD. They used 11 players in the win over Pacific on Jan. 26. They have had 11 different starting line-ups, and went back to the beginning on Thursday, Feb. 2 against USD, starting the first line-up they used on the season... The Lions used "just" just nine players on Jan. 14 against Portland, just the second time they have used less than 10 in a game. They used nine players against No. 19 Saint Mary's on Dec. 29. In conference they have used all 12 players five times, the other three include Dec. 31 against BYU, on Jan. 5 against Pepperdine and again Jan. 12 against Gonzaga... Senior Brandon Brown led the Lions on Thursday against USD in points, rebounds, assists and steals. He is the eighth different Lions to lead the team in rebounding. They have had nine different players lead them in assists and seven different Lions have led the team in scoring.
SENIORS: Brandon Brown, Buay Tuach, Stefan Jovanovic, Shamar Johnson and Kelvin Amayo are the five seniors leading the way this season for the Lions. In addition, to his 18-point performance on Thursday where he hit a career-best 4-for-8 from three in leading the Lions in points (18), rebounds (6), assists (6) and steals (2), Brown had his sixth 20-point game of the season with 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting in the win over Pacific, and Tuach led the Lions with a career-best 21 points with five rebounds and three steals at BYU on Jan. 28.
Brown leads the way at point, sitting is 12th in scoring (14.0 ppg) and 7th in assists (4.5 apg). He is also 5th in steals per game (1.2), 10th in three-pointer percentage (41.1), 15th in three-pointers made per game (1.7), and 6th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2). Tuach continues to do a little of everything for the Lions. He ranks 21st in scoring (11.7 ppg), 9th in shooting (53.6%), 11th in three-point shooting (41.1%), and 4th in steals (1.3 spg). He is on a career-setting pace, he had 96 points all of 2015-16. He has 256 through 22 games this year.
Senior Shamar Johnson has been a consistent force in the paint for the Lions. He scored 10 points with six rebounds and a career-best six assists against BYU. He went for 12 points and eight rebounds in the win over Santa Clara at home and led the Lions with a career-equalling nine rebounds in win over Portland, adding 11 points. The Pensacola, Fla., native has become a leader for the Lions and is having his best season with 8.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg. He is 19th in the WCC in rebounds and 10th with 1.8 offensive rebounds per game.
Rounding out the LMU senior class is a pair of transfers. Stefan Jovanovic scored in double figures the last seven non-conference games, including a pair of career-highs in the process. He is averaging 8.7 ppg and 4.9 rpg. He is also ranked 5th in offensive rebounds at 2.3 and 7th in blocks at 1.0. 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 19.1 minutes a game he is averaging 5.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.57 apg, and 0.65 spg. He had nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal against Santa Clara on Jan. 7, and had a big offensive put-back in the final 30 seconds to help Lions in comeback win over Portland.
NUMBERS... Junior Steven Haney Jr., a 2016 WCC All-Academic Selection and NABC Allstate Good Works team nominee, hit a pair of three-pointers to score 13 points in the win over USD, giving him 115 three-pointers in his career, ranking 13th all-time in LMU history. He needs four more to tie for 12th with Carles Brown (2001-05). He is ranked 9th in the WCC with 1.9 three-pointers per game... The Lions 14 steals against BYU on Jan. 28 was a season-high, and second best in the WCC this season. The 23 forced turnovers was also the most on the season... LMU had six more steals against USD, forcing them into 10 turnovers while turning it over just six times themselves. It equaled the lowest turnover total of the season (Jan. 7 vs. Santa Clara)... The 53 points allowed to San Diego on Feb. 2 was one of 11 times the Lions have held an opponent under 70 points. They are 8-3 in those games... In addition, they held the USD to 39.1 percent from the field the 12th opponent the Lions held to under 45% shooting in a game, improving to 10-2 in those games. The Lions are 10-1 when shooting better than their opponent, 9-2 when out-rebounding the opponent, out-rebounding USD 30-25
The Lions shot 53.1 percent from the field on the Feb. 2 win over USD, hitting over 50 percent for the sixth time this season. They went better than 50% from the field in back-to-back games, hitting 52.3 percent against Boise State after going for a season-best 57.4 percent in the win over Portland State. It is the first time the Lions have posted back-to-back games over 50 percent since December of 2009. LMU shot 50 percent or better just twice all of last year.
MORE NUMBERS... The 19-point win over USD on the road in WCC play was largest margin of victory in a WCC game since beating San Diego by 23 points, 87-64, on January 30, 1998, and the most on the road since defeating Portland 128-96 on Feb. 2, 1991... The 48 second half points against Pacific on Jan. 26 was the most in that half on the season. The 79 total points equaled their high in conference games this season, scoring 79 in the win over Portland... The seven blocked shots in the win was the second most on the year. They had nine against UIW on Dec. 17...The Lions are outscoring opponents 710 to 597 in points in the paint the first 22 games. The best of the season came in a 54-14 edge in points in the paint against UIW... The 48-point win to open the season was tied for the sixth largest in program history, equaling the Lions 78-31 win over San Diego on Dec. 10, 1958... They opened a new season with a win for the sixth straight season, improving to 41-21 in season openers since 1955-56... The Lions scored 57 points in the first 20 minutes against Vanguard, the most in the opening half since the 1991 season... In the second half, LMU held Vanguard to just 17 points, limiting them to just 5-for-35 from the field and 1-for-18 from the three. It was the lowest half by an opponent since the Lions held Seattle to just 11 first half points in an 83-51 win on Nov. 23, 1996... They had 59 rebounds in that game, the most since they had 61 against Pacifica on Nov. 9, 2012.
COMING UP The Lions will return home for Family Weekend. The precursor to the weekend will be a showdown with Gonzaga on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 pm. The Zags will enter the game as the highest ranked team to ever come to Gersten Pavilion. Then on Saturday, join the Lions for the annual Family Weekend Game Day Experience as the Lions take on Portland at 1 pm. The activities start with the annual Tailgate Party at 11 am. For more information, visit LMULions.com.
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