Hoops Returns Home For Another Against Gaels
Lions return to Gersten Pavilion and start home stand with Saint Mary's on Thursday.
Feb. 5, 2014
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Finally finished with a long road swing, LMU men's basketball returns home for Family Weekend on campus to host a pair of West Coast Conference match-ups. It all begins on Thursday, Feb. 6 when the Lions host Saint Mary's for the second time in three games. The Lions (11-12, 3-8) fell to Pepperdine since they last faced Saint Mary's (Jan. 25), while the Gaels (16-7, 6-4) dropped the first two of their current four-game road swing. Game time is set for 8 pm and will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Sports Net and on KXLU 88.9 FM.
THE MATCH-UP FAMILY WEEKEND
This is family weekend on the campus of Loyola Marymount and it all starts with the Lions' taking on the Gaels for the second time in three games. Thursday's game will be International Student's night with a special recognition for LMU's international student-athletes at halftime. On Saturday, the Lions' will host the annual Family Weekend Game featuring the Lions taking on Pacific. The action begins with a special tailgate party at 2 pm, followed by the game at 4 pm. Parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members are invited to join their LMU student and other parents, faculty and staff for Family Weekend 2014! Families and students of all class years are encouraged to attend. The weekend will include activities for the whole family including meeting faculty such as your student's Dean, hearing from staff members in Study Abroad or Career Development Services, attending an LMU tailgate before our men's basketball game and enjoying brunch with our Jesuits. A special rate of $15 is being offered for family members to the game against Pacific. If you have the promotional code, visit LMULions.com/Tickets to purchase. For more information, visit: http://resources.lmu.edu/parents/familyweekend/
INSIDE THE LIONS
Senior Anthony Ireland continues to pace the Lions in all areas of the floor, putting the final marks on his record-setting career. He has not missed a game in his career, playing in his school record 123rd against Pepperdine while earning his 116th start, also a record. With his 15 first half points against the Waves, he became the fifth Lion in school history to score 2,000 career points. He finished with his 40th 20-point game, scoring 24 to give him 2,009 in his career, just one behind Bo Kimble for fourth all-time at LMU. As of Feb. 3 he is second in the league at 18.8 ppg (58th nationally), second in assists at 5.6 (45th nationally) and second in steals at 1.8 (87th). With 433 points (ranked 32nd in the NCAA as of Feb. 2), 128 assists (ranked 22nd) and 41 steals (ranked 57th) in 2013-14, Ireland surpasses Kieth Smith for 5th all-time in LMU history with 2,009 points. He also moved past Jim Williamson for third with 512 career assists and is third all-time with 188 career steals. He joins Terrell Lowery as the only player in LMU history with at least 1,500 points, 500 assists and 150 steals in his career. There are only three active players in the NCAA that have those numbers (Kendall Williams - New Mexico; Chaz Williams - UMass; Shabazz Napier - UConn). None of them, including Lowery, have 500 career rebounds. Ireland is at 492 heading into Thursday against Saint Mary's.
The Lions enter the week second behind Pacific in the WCC and 7th in the NCAA (as of Feb. 2) hitting 76.3 percent on the season from the free throw line. They raised their season number by nearly a percent after the season-high 31-for-37 effort against Pacific (the most since going 32-for-40 against CS Fullerton in the CIT on Mar. 14, 2012). They went 18-for-23 (78.3%) against Pepperdine last Saturday.
The Lions have had more turnovers than their opponents just five times in 21 games this season, giving it away just seven times to open WCC play against the Cougars and then a season-low six in the win over Pacific on Jan. 23 (the fewest since five against Portland Jan. 12, 2013). They then had a season-high 19 against the Gaels. While taking care of the ball in the win over Pacific, the Lions' rarely-used zone had 11 blocks, forced 11 Pacific turnovers on eight steals that led to an 18-6 edge in points off turnovers. The Lions are averaging just 12.43 turnovers per game this season while leading the league in steals at 7.35 per game. LMU ranks third in the WCC in turnover margin at +1.26. The Lions have averaged under 13 turnovers a game just twice in program history. They averaged just 12.97 in 2009-10 and set the record in 1983-84 at 11.98 per game.
Freshman Evan Payne led the Lions with 25 points against Pacific, second only to his 27 points against BYU in the first meeting. The 27 points is tied for the fourth best by a freshman in LMU History and his 25 is tied for eighth. The BYU game was the first of conference, making the point total the most ever by an LMU freshman in his first WCC game and the third-most by an LMU player in his conference debut. After 13 against the Waves, Payne now has 334 points on the season and is ranked ninth all-time for freshman scoring in a season. His 14.5 ppg is ranked 11th in the WCC.
Freshman Gabe Levin went for his freshman record fifth double-double against Pacific on Jan. 23 with 12 points and 10 rebounds, his first since his 14 points and 14 rebounds at Pittsburgh. He is one of just five freshman to have multiple double-doubles in their debut season at LMU. He has grabbed 14 rebounds in a single game three times already this season. Heading into the game against Saint Mary's, Levin has 157 rebounds and is ranked 4th all-time for a freshman. In addition, he has added 10 blocks in three games, giving him 26 on the year. He is ranked 7th in rebounding at 7.5 rpg and 5th in blocks at 1.2 bpg.
While Ireland has been a mainstay in the Lions' line-up the last four seasons, playing short-handed is nothing new for the Lions in the six seasons under Head Coach Max Good. Junior Chase Flint, who had played in 42 games as a Lion with 24 starts, suffered a broken elbow against Portland on Jan. 16 and will be out the rest of the season. He is the third former starter and fourth major contributor to be lost for the season in 2013-14. In addition, sophomore transfer Ben Dickinson missed the game on Jan. 18 against Gonzaga and remains out indefinitely due to personal reasons. Combined with freshman Patson Siame's year of residency, the Lions will play this weekend with just seven scholarship players. Entering the Saint Mary's game, key players have missed 63 games this season due to injury, including Flint's four games, Godwin Okonji (leg suffered in car accident prior to practice on Oct. 20, see LMULions.com for more) for the entire season (23 games), senior Ayodeji Egbeyemi (hip) the last 15 games, and freshman Nino Jackson (ankle) the last 19 games, all of whom the Lions will look at applying for a medical redshirt following the season. Freshman Gabe Levin also missed two games with a shoulder injury. The Lions have had eight starting line-ups this year, second only to Good's first season in 2008-09 for fewest line-ups. A year ago the Lions had 10 different starting line-ups as key players missed 30 games. In 2011-12 when they won 21 games, the Lions featured 11 starting line-ups but had key players miss just 25 games, the fewest in Good's tenure. In 2010-11 they had 15 line-ups with players missing 63 games. In 2009-10 in which the Lions had 18 wins, they had 10 line-ups with the second fewest missed games, 26. And in his first season, the Lions were down to six scholarship players at one point and key players missed 68 games.
A Grand Finale: Senior Anthony Ireland has not missed a game and just one day of practice in his three-year career, playing in all 123 of the games LMU has played the last four years, tops all-time in LMU history. He earned his 116th start against Pepperdine, also most in LMU history. He has done this while losing a tooth during a game, not missing a second in the process against Alaska-Anchorage; playing the season needing knee surgery as a junior; needing stitches in his lower lip during a game as a sophomore. He is at it again in 2013-14. As of Feb. 3, here is where he ranks all-time in LMU history: