Rivalry Grows With Another Tourney Match-up
Men's basketbal to face USF for the third time in four years at the WCC tournament.
March 7, 2013
LAS VEGAS, Nev.--With the streak-stopping 65-54 win in the opening round of the 2013 WCC Basketball Championships, LMU men's basketball advanced to the second round to face fifth-seeded San Francisco on Thursday at 6 pm at the Orleans Arena. It's a fitting match-up in what is becoming quite the rivalry of late between the two programs. This will be the third time in four years the programs will meet in the WCC tournament. The game will be live on BYUtv and KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE LIONS
In a program with a rich scoring history, junior Anthony Ireland continues to pace the Lions in 2012-13 with one of the better scoring seasons in LMU history. He leads the Lions at 20.3 points per game, ranking second in the WCC and 12th nationally (as of Mar. 4). He now has 630 points on the season, becoming the first Lion to crack the LMU season top-20 since Terrell Lowery did it with 675 points in 1991-92. Ireland is just the 12th different player in the top-20, and is just the 15th time someone has scored at least 600 points in a single season in LMU history. He is now 11th all-time thanks to his 12 points on Wednesday. He cracked the career top-10 at LMU with 23 and 24 points, respectively, in the final two games of the regular season, giving him 1,518 career points, ranking 10th all-time at LMU. Ireland was named first-team All-WCC this past week, becoming the first Lion to earn back-to-back first-team All-WCC honors since Matthew Knight did it in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He is the 14th player to go back-to-back and just the second junior to do it, joining Hank Gathers as the only Lion to do so. In addition to scoring, Ireland ranks in the top-20 in eight other statistical categories in the WCC, including rebounds (18th), assists (7th) and steals (7th). Ireland has been featured in some multimedia segments the past couple weeks, check them out:
LMU's best offense is off their defense. Thanks to those 14 steals, the Lions posted a 22-6 edge in points off turnovers. In the last two games, the Lions have a 44-9 edge in points off turnovers, using the press to comeback from a 15-point deficit against BYU, the Lions forced the Cougars into 19 turnovers on 10 steals and turned that into a 22-3 edge in points off turnovers. The Lions have bettered their opponent in that category in 17 of the 31 games this season. They generated 19 of their 27 points off turnovers in the second half as they earased a big deficit against USF on Feb. 21, the most in WCC play. The final margin was 27-16 in favor of the Lions, a reversal of the first meeting against the Dons as they held 22-4 edge on Jan. 19.
During the Lions' end of the season streak, 10 of the setbacks were by single digits and nine of the 10 where a single possession game with less than two minutes to play. Those 10 games were decided by a total of 44 points, 4.4 per game. The Lions are 1-10 in games decided by less than 10 points since the start of the year (4-14 for the entire season) and 1-6 in games decided by four or less in conference play. Here is a look at some of them:
The 46 percent shooting for the LIons against Portland was a big part of ending the skid, as the Lions shot a combined 37.6 percent (277-737) from the field during the 14-game skid. They put up 62 shots (second most in WCC play), 15 more than the Cougars, but finished shooting 38.8 percent to BYU's 44.8. They shot 33 percent against Pepperdine despite out shooting the Waves by 17 shots. On Wednesday they finished with 10 more shots than the Pilots, who they held to 42.9 percent shooting. The streak included a 28.3 percent clip against USF on Jan. 19 and a 25 percent outing on Jan. 31 against the Zags (the lowest since shooting 21.2 percent at Portland on Jan. 21, 2010).
The Lions finished hitting 42.9 percent from three agasinst Portland (6-for-14), which was an even bigger improvement for the Lions. It had been even more of a struggle from long range, as the Lions were ranked fourth in the WCC in three-point shooting following the Santa Clara win on Jan. 10 at 37.5 percent. In the 14 games after, the Lions had shot just 70-for-241 from three (29 percent ) and entered the WCC tournament ranked 7th at 33.6 percent. The Lions equalled its most three-pointers in WCC games with nine against BYU, while attempting 25 (36 percent) of them.
The Lions are have been playing with just eight scholarship players during WCC play, and have played 10 different starting line-ups this season. LMU will have just eight during the WCC tournament (they have 12 scholarship players on the roster in 2012-13). Ayodeji Egbeyemi, who after 25 games still sits fourth in the league in minutes at 33.6 per game, 24th in points (10.6 ppg) and 9th in rebounds (6.0 rpg), left the game against Pepperdine with about nine minutes to play with a groin injury. He is out the rest of the season. This coming right when the Lions looked to be getting some help, as 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 before the injury) returned to action against Pepperdine. It was his first minutes since the first WCC game of the season on Jan. 3 vs. BYU. He missed the previous 10 games due to a stress reaction in his left shin, which is still not 100-percent. The Lions bench is already thin due to redshirts to sophomore C.J. Blackwell (will apply for a medical redshirt), transfer Ben Dickinson (due to NCAA transfer rules) and freshman Taj Adams (coaches' decision).
INSIDE THE GAME
THE INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UP