Fourth Seeded Lions Head to Vegas
Preview of the 2012 Zappos.com WCC Championships from Las Vegas, Nevada
March 1, 2012
LMU men's basketball, with the most overall and conference wins since 1989-90, will head to the 2012 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Championships at the fourth seed, earning a bye to the quarterfinals on Friday, Mar. 2 at 6 p.m. The Lions will play the winner of game #2 of the Second Round, which will feature fifth-seed San Francisco and the winner of the first round game between Portland and Santa Clara. The Lions' quarterfinal game will be broadcast on ESPNU and KXLU 88.9 FM.
GAME: WCC Quarterfinals - Game #4
INSIDE THE LIONS
LMU enters the Zappos.com WCC Championships at 19-11 overall on the season and 11-5 in the WCC. The 19 overall wins and 11 WCC wins are the most since the Elite Eight team of 1989-90. In addition, it is tied with the 1967-68 team for the third most conference wins in program history.
Senior Drew Viney and sophomore Anthony Ireland were named First-Team All-WCC, while Head Coach Max Good was named WCC Coach of the Year, as announced by the WCC on Feb. 28. The Lions have now had a pair of All-WCC selections in each of the last three seasons. Ireland and Viney finished one-two on the team in scoring at 15.5 and 15.3 points per game, respectively. Viney becomes the 14th player in school history to earn three All-WCC honors, earning honorable mention honors in 2010-11 and first-team honors in 2009-10. Ireland was a two-time WCC Player of the Week selection and finished the regular season ranked second in the league in scoring. He was an All-Freshman selection a year ago.
Entering the WCC tournament, LMU is ranked 22nd in the NCAA Division I National Rankings in three-point field goal defense and 42nd in free throw percentage. The Lions are holding opponents to a league low 29.9 percent from long range overall, while limiting opponents to just 28.4 percent in WCC games. The Lions have held 14 teams under 30 percent for the game, including BYU's 2-for-25 (8 percent), Pepperdine's 2-for-15 effort on Thursday (13.3 percent) as well as Gonzaga and Portland to 15.4 percent (2-for-13). In non-conference they held UCLA to 13.3 percent and North Texas' to 15.8 percent.
The Lions enter the week leading the WCC in free throw percentage, 73.5 percent on the season. They finished the season hitting 31-for-35 (88.6 percent) in the win over Santa Clara. The Lions' top-six scorers hit better than 73.5 percent, including Jarred DuBois' 86.7 percent and LaRon Armstead's 86.3 percent, are one-two in the WCC. Anthony Ireland is 13th in the WCC at 76.0 percent.
The win at Saint Mary's in the final road game of the season improved the Lions to 7-1 on the road in WCC play and 9-3 overall away from home. Its the best conference road record since going 6-1 in that 1989-90 season, and the seven wins matches the road win total of the 1987-88 team, who went 14-0 in league play. In addition, the Lions finish the regular season at 9-3 on the road, its best road record since winning 11 games in that Elite Eight season. Included in this season's road record was that six-game road winning streak to start WCC road play, matching the 1990-'91 team for the most consecutive road wins (overall).
The Lions' posted a 60-point second half in erasing a 19-point deficit in the comeback win over San Francisco on Feb. 4. It was the most points in a single half since they scored 69 in the second half against USC on Nov. 30, 1993. The Lions hit 11 three-pointers in that win, and with another 10 against Portland on Feb. 9, they have hit double-digit three-pointers six times this season, ranking fifth in the WCC with 6.5 three-pointers. The Lions hit seven against Saint Mary's and improve to 9-2 on the season when they hit at least seven. Heading into the season, the last time they hit 10 or more three-pointers in a game was 10 against USF on Jan. 14, 2010. The 11 made is the most since hitting 12 against Mercer on Nov. 24, 2007.
MORE NUMBERS: The Lions are 15-1 when leading at the half (9-1 in WCC), 12-1 (6-0) when outrebounding their opponent, 18-4 (10-2) when shooting better than 40 percent, 11-1 (6-0) when holding their opponent to less than 40 percent, and 13-0 (7-0) when scoring 70 or more points.
The Lions have played in three overtime games in a season for the first time since 2007-08, winning all three. It is the first time in program history the Lions have won three overtime games in a single season.
The Lions have found success in the big games under Head Coach Max Good. The Lions are 3-2 this season (W - UCLA, Saint Louis, Saint Mary's; L - Gonzaga, Saint Mary's) against ranked opponents, 4-4 in the last three season under Good. The games against UCLA and Florida State were the eighth and ninth time under Head Coach Max Good the Lions played a team from the "BCS" conferences. The Lions are 3-6 in those meetings, defeating USC (67-59), Notre Dame (87-85) and now UCLA (69-58), all on the road. In addition, Good has led the Lions to more road wins and more conference wins than any head coach since Paul Westhead.
Injuries once again have forced change in the Lions starting five as the Lions have started nine different line-ups. Three of the Lions' top-seven - top scorers Jarred DuBois, Drew Viney and Ashley Hamilton - combined to miss 27 games this season. The Lions have found some consistency, starting the same five for 11 straight games, going 8-3 in those games. The Lions inserted senior Tim Diederichs in the starting line-up during the final game of the year for Senior Day. In 2010-11, LMU's top-seven missed 66 games as the Lions featured 16 different starting line-ups... Junior Jarred DuBois missed two games (La Sierra, North Texas) due to soreness in his foot and then three more games (at Pep, Gonzaga, at BYU) after suffering a concussion against San Diego on Jan. 7... Junior Ashley Hamilton, who was the Lions' leading scorer after three games, suffered an injury to his right foot against Harvard and missed the next 12 games... Senior Drew Viney missed 10 of the Lions' first 12 games after a stress fracture in his foot the week prior to the start of the season in October. He returned to the line-up full-time against Vanguard on Dec. 27... Prior to the team's departure to San Francisco Dec. 31, redshirt sophomore Edgar Garibay asked for and was granted his release from the LMU men's basketball program.
AT THE POINT
Sophomore Anthony Ireland started the season scoring 22 or more points in four of five games, and with his 23 points at Gonzaga, he now has eight games with 20 or more on the season and 10 in his young career. He is one of two Lions to play every game this season (Ayodeji Egbeyemi is the other) and he is second in the WCC in minutes played at 36.3 per game. The first-team All-WCC selection is second in the WCC in scoring at 15.5 points per game and fourth with 4.8 assists per contest. He earned his second WCC Player of the Week honor with 16 points and seven assists in the win over ranked Saint Mary's, and 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the win over Valpo. His first was after his 27-point effort in the win over BYU and he became just the second Lion since 1998 to earn a double-double with points and assists when he did it against Vanguard (14 pts, 10 assists). He had 21 assists in the final two non-conference games, going for a career-high 11 against Morgan State on Dec. 21. It is the most in back-to-back games since Terrell Lowery in 1990. He now has 240 career assists to rank 14th all-time at LMU. He also has 49 steals on the season (1.63 spg), earning five against Santa Clara in the final regular seaosn game to rank fifth in the WCC.
Three-time All-WCC selection Drew Viney entered 2011-12 needing just a single point to become the 31st player in LMU history to reach 1,000 career points. After having to miss the first six games due to a stress fracture in his foot, it took exactly 12 seconds in his first game back against Columbia to hit the century mark. Viney knocked down a 12-foot jumper to become the 31st player in school history to reach a 1,000 points. Then with five rebounds against San Diego (Feb. 23), he became the 13th player in program history with 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds. He had his 11th career double-double in the win over Pepperdine, which ranks tied for 12th at LMU. He enters the WCC tournament averaging 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds with 18 blocks, 24 steals and 30 assists in 20 games. He is second on the team with 33 three-pointers. His career numbers are starting to add up. Here is where he ranks in the LMU career record books as of Feb. 28: 15th with 1,304 points 15th with 16.5 ppg 19th with 453 made field goals 25th with 976 field goal attempts 8th with 134 three-pointers made 10th with 322 three-pointer attempts 4th with a 41.6 three-point field goal percentage 20th with 264 free throws made 27th with 332 free throws attemted 19th with a 79.5 free throw percentage 22nd with 510 rebounds 5th with 82 blocks 29th with 83 steals.
LaRon Armstead continues to show why he is the Lions' senior leader, becoming the 30th player in LMU history to appear in 100 games in his career, and now ranks 25th with 105 games played. Fellow senior Tim Diederichs became the 31st to hit a 100 in the game against Gonzaga. He is 28th with 103 games played. Armstead came off the bench to score 22 points against then #23 Saint Louis, becoming a mainstay in the Lions' rotation since. He went for double figures in six of seven games before the Morgan State game, and has returned to that form in the WCC, going for 14 in the win over Pepperdine. Against the Waves he hit a big three-pointer for a 57-51 lead late, and then after the Waves cut the lead to five, he grabbed three straight defensive rebounds. He is fifth on the team with 8.0 points per game while adding 2.6 rebounds, and 20steals. In addition to his free throws, he has hit 31 three-pointers, third on the squad.
Redshirt junior Jarred DuBois, who began play with the Lions in the same 2008-09 campaign with senior LaRon Armstead, played just five games a year ago due to foot surgery and was granted a medical redshirt. After missing three games due to a concussion, he returned against Santa Clara to score nine points, hitting his final point on a free throw to give him 1,000 points in his career. He is the 32nd player in LMU history to do so. He is averaging 10.3 points per game this season after going for 15 against Saint Mary's to rank 19th in the WCC. In his career at LMU, he is sixth all-time with 143 career three-pointers, 15th with a career three-point percentage of 36.8, fifth with a career free throw percentage of 84.2 percent and 17th with 228 career assists.
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