Road Swing Begins in Middle of Busy Week
Lions to start three-game road swing at Portland on Thursday.
Feb. 6, 2013
|GAME:||LMU (8-14, 1-8) at Portland (8-16, 1-8)|
|DATE/TIME:||Feb. 7, 2013 // 7:00 p.m. (PST)|
|LOCATION:||Chiles Center // Portland, OR|
|RADIO:||KXLU 88.9 FM (Jesse Kass)|
|LIVE STATS:||Live Stats|
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LOS ANGELES -- LMU men's basketball will begin a three-game road swing - its longest road trip during West Coast Conference play - in the middle of a stretch of three games in six days as they head to Portland on Thursday, Feb. 7. Tip-off is set for 7 pm and the game can be seen on Comcast Sports Net and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE LIONS
The Lions are 8-14 overall, 1-8 in the WCC after falling to No. 7 Gonzaga on Thursday and San Diego (69-68 in OT) on Monday. Anthony Ireland continues to pace the Lions at 19.8 points per game, ranking second in the WCC. He was the Lions only scorer in double figures with 19, hitting 5-for-10 from three against Gonzaga. He had 17 in 42 minutes on Monday. Ireland is on pace to post the highest scoring average since Terrell Lowery led the WCC with 26.0 ppg. In addition to scoring, he ranks in the top-15 in eight other statistical categories in the WCC, including rebounds (14th), assists (7th) and steals (5th). Ireland has been featured in some multimedia segments the past couple weeks, check them out:
Senior Ashley Hamilton is having his best season as a Lion, scoring 15 points with eight rebounds in the first meeting 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 14.1 ppg and 6.8 rpg in his final season, after going for his second double-double of the season and fifth of his career with 11 points and 12 rebounds on Monday. He ranks ranking 12th and 8th, respectively, within the WCC in scoring and rebounds.
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 six-game skid, the Lions have shot a combined 336.0 percent (120-333) from the field, including a 28.3 percent clip against USF on Jan. 19 and a 25 percent outing on Thursday against the Zags (the lowest since shooting 21.2 percent at Portland on Jan. 21, 2010). The Lions shot 47.4 percent (27-of-57) against the Toreros, the highest since hitting 56.8 percent against CSUB on Dec. 29. 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 six games since, the Lions have shot just 32-for-127 from three (25.1 percent ) and are now ranked eighth at 33.7 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 10.9 points per game, and is ninth in rebounding at 6.2 per game. He is also 9th in three-pointers made (1.6 pg), 11th in blocked shots (0.68 bpg) and is fourth in minutes played at 33.8. He had his third career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds on Monday against USD. As for Osborne, he has started the last 13 games and has made an impact in the post. He is 13th in the league in steals and second on the team with 29 (1.32 spg). He is also 15th in blocked shots with 14. He went for 10 points, four rebounds, four steals and three blocks against Pepperdine on Jan. 24.
AT THE POINT
Junior Anthony Ireland entered the 2012-13 season on the Lou Henson Player of the Year watch list and was named to the Lou Henson Award Preseason All-American Team. He also was named Preseason All-WCC and as a junior is one of the most experienced players on the LMU roster, having played every single game the Lions have played since he arrived LMU, playing 88 games with 81 starts entering the Portland game. He has 435 points, 86 assists and 37 steals to lead the Lions in 2012-13, giving him 1,323 points (ranked 16th all-time at LMU), 349 assists (9th all-time) and 126 steals (14th all-time) in his career. He became the 33rd Lion to score 1,000 in a career in the game against North Texas and earned his fourth career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds at SMU. He had his 23rd game with at least 20 points, going for 29 in the win over Santa Clara and 22 against Portland. The Lions are 14-9 in games when he goes over 20 points. He was the only Lion to play every game last season and was second in the WCC in minutes played at 36.5 per game and he is averaging a league best 36.9 this season, going for a career-high 42 on Monday. The first-team All-WCC and NABC All-District selection was second in the WCC in scoring at 16.1 points per game and fourth with 4.9 assists per contest. He earned two WCC Player of the Week honors as a sophomore and was the second Lion since 1998 to earn a double-double with points and assists.
INSIDE THE GAME
This will be the 88th meeting between LMU and Portland, and the series has been pretty much even since it began in 1954 with the Lions holding a 45-42 edge. Last season the Lions earned the first sweep of the Pilots since 2001, but Portland took the first meeting of 2013, 68-64 at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions' 76-62 win in Portland on Feb. 9, 2012 was the first at the Chiles since that 2001 season when the Lions won 91-87. In the 10 games since Head Coach Max Good took over, the Pilots lead the series 6-4 with two of the meetings going into overtime. Portland is coming of a road trip to the Bay Area, falling to Santa Clara (70-46) and Saint Mary's (77-42). Portland shoots 40.9 percent from the field but holds opponents to just 42.1 percent. Ryan Nicholas leads the team at 13.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg, 11.8 and 8.6 in conference. Kevin Bailey is second at 11.4.
THE FIRST MEETING
It was a tale of two halves as LMU's first half push couldn't match the second half push of Portland, as the Pilots erased an 11-point halftime deficit to earn a 68-64 win at Gersten Pavilion... The Pilots entered the game shooting just 30 percent in two conference games, shot 54.7 percent from the field, including a 64.5 percent clip in the second half to come back for the win. The Lions finished shooting just 37.8 percent, hitting 32 percent in the second half... Portland out rebounded the Lions by 24, 43-19, and outscored the Lions 36-16 in the paint. LMU turned the ball over just five times and forced 17 turnovers but could not overcome the Pilots' shooting. Portland made 29 field goals, 20 in the second half, compared to just 20 on the game for the Lions... Anthony Ireland led all scorers with 22 points, while Ashley Hamilton had 17 and Bruce English tallied 11. Ryan Nicholas paced Portland with 17 points and 13 rebounds, scoring 10 points in the final 10 minutes to pace the comeback... Ireland would hit his fourth three-pointer with 5:52 to play to cut the lead to 57-56. However, back-to-back three pointers by the Pilots gave them a 63-58 lead with 3:44 to play...The Lions could not get closer than three the rest of the way as the Pilots finished 20-for-31 from the field in the second half in scoring 47 second half points.
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. The Lions are playing with eight scholarship players entering the game against Portland (they have 12 scholarship players on the roster in 2012-13).
Due to the Lions' short bench, players have been asked to step-in for the Lions. Freshman Marin Mornar earned his first start on Monday against USD and went 27 minutes, scoring five points with four rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. Alex Osborne has made 13 starts since filling in for Godwin Okonji when he had his emergency surgery. He is averaging 4.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. Bruce English earned his seventh start against the Zags and had his best game as a Lion against USF, going for career-best 12 points and eight rebounds. He is averaging 5.4 ppg and 1.3 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 21 minutes with four points and two rebounds against Gonzaga on Thursday.
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