Men's Basketball

Familiar Foe Awaits in Quarterfinals

Ashley Hamilton
Ashley Hamilton

March 8, 2013

The Last Meeting
Loyola Marymount56
Santa Clara79
February 28, 2013
Santa Clara, CA
Lions Fall at Santa Clara
Like the first meeting between LMU and Santa Clara, it was another fast start for the Broncos. Unlike the first one, they didn't let go of the lead as they earned a 79-56 win over the Lions at the Leavey Center on Thursday night.

Interactive Game Notes | WCC Tournament Central |LMU on Facebook | LMU on Twitter

LMULIONS.COM GAMEDAY:

GAME: LMU (10-22, 1-15) vs. Santa Clara (21-10, 9-7)
DATE/TIME: Mar. 8, 2013 // 6:00 p.m. (PST)
LOCATION: Orleans Arena // Las Vegas, NV
TV: ESPNU
RADIO: KXLU 88.9 FM (Jesse Kass, Drew Rossi, Chase Lio)
WEBCAST: WatchESPN.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
MOBILE STATS: WCC Mobile
RESOURCES: WCC Tourney Central
Photo Gallery: 2nd Round | Opening Round
Postgame Press Conferences: 1st Round | 2nd Round
Game Coverage: LMU 61, USF 60 | LMU 65, POR 54
Game Notes: Interactive | PDFGet Acrobat Reader
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- LMU men's basketball became just the fifth low-seed in the West Coast Conference Basketball Championships history to advance to the quarterfinals or beyond with its overtime winner on Thursday, and the Lions will now face a familiar foe in the WCC Quarterfinals. The Lions will meet Santa Clara for the second time in eight days and for the eighth time in tournament history on Friday, March 8 at 6 pm. The game is on ESPNU and KXLU 88.9 FM.

INSIDE THE LIONS
• The Lions are 10-22 overall, snapping a 14-game skid with a 65-54 win over Portland in the WCC opening round on Wednesday, followed by a 61-60 overtime thriller over San Francisco to advance to the WCC Basketball Championship Quarterfinals for the fourth straight year. BYU excluded, only Gonzaga and Saint Mary's have gone to the quarterfinals and beyond in each of the last four WCC tournaments.

• Since the WCC Basketball Championships began in 1987, the lowest seeded team in the tournament field (No. 98 through 2011, No. 9 starting in 2012) had advanced just four times. Make that five. The Lions are the first No. 9 seed to the quarterfinals with its win Thursday. LMU was the last team to do it in 2011 when they defeated Portland in the first round as the No. 8 seed, falling to Santa Clara in the quarterfinals. LMU also did it in 1995 and 1997 when they defeated top-seeded Santa Clara in both years, 87-83 in 1995 and 70-61 in 1997. The other No. 8 seed advancing was Pepperdine in 1996, defeating No. 1 Santa Clara 63-60.

• Senior Ashley Hamilton led the Lions with 21 points and eight rebounds in the win over Portland, marking just the fifth time this season someone other the Ireland led the team in points. The Lions had a season high 14 steals, forcing Portland into 19 turnovers while only having 11 themselves. The 14 steals is the second most in program history at the WCC tournament, done three previous times, last coming in 1991 against USF. The steal total matches two other games (3/21/12 at Utah St.; 12/18/06 vs. Boise St.) as the most in a single game overall in more than nine years, getting 15 on Jan. 15, 2004 against San Diego.

• In the 61-60 win over USF, it was defense that once again pushed the Lions to double the wins it had during all of conference heading into the tournament. The Lions had just nine turnovers but forced USF into 12, posting a 15-7 edge in points off turnovers. They also held USF to 38.9 percent shooting, including a 1-for-7 clip in overtime. Godwin Okonji, who lost his father and had an emergency Appendectomy earlier this season, had the best game of his career in with his first double-double (14 points with 10 reb). Ashley Hamilton continued his hot postseason with his fourth double-double of the season and seventh of his career with 11 points and 14 rebounds. The rebound total is tied for 5th for most in the WCC tournament in LMU history.

• The two-game winning streak put together in the WCC tournament has been about contribution throughout the line-up in Head Coach Max Good's eight-man rotation. In the win over USF, the Lions had four players in double figures scoring for the first time since Jan. 24 against Pepperdine. In the opening round win, Ashley Hamilton had his best shooting performance of the season at 8-for-12 in scoring his second highest point total of the season, while senior walk-on Taylor Walker and Nick Stover doubled their season average point total with eight and seven, respectively, and Alex Osborne outdid his season averages with eight points, six rebounds and three steals. Against USF, Walker scored a career-best 13 points while Godwin Okonji had a season-high in both points and rebounds.

• LMU's best offense is off their defense. Thanks to those 14 steals against Portland, the Lions posted a 22-6 edge in points off turnovers. It was at it again in the win over USF, going 15-7 in points off turnovers. In the last three games, the Lions have a 59-16 edge in points off turnovers, forcing teams into 16.7 turnovers per game, while committing just under 10 a game themselves. 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 18 of the 32 games this season. Against Santa Clara this season, the Lions forced the Broncos into 20 turnovers and had a 23-13 edge in points off turnovers in their lone conference win on Jan. 10. In the rematch less than a week ago, it was tied at 14 points apiece .

• 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 20.2 points per game, ranking second in the WCC and 12th nationally (as of Mar. 4). He now has 646 points on the season, becoming the first Lion to crack the LMU season top-21 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 10th all-time thanks to his 16 points on Thursday. He cracked the career top-10 at LMU with 23 and 24 points, respectively, in the final two games of the regular season, as he now has 1,534 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:

- WCC This Week Segment via YouTube.com/WCCSports
- LMU Magazine inside look "Ice Man" via Magazine.LMU.edu

• 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).

• 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 against 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.• During the Lions' 14-game skid to end the regular season, 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 2-10 in games decided by less than 10 points since the start of the year (5-14 for the entire season) and 2-6 in games decided by four or less against conference foes. Here is a look at some 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 QUARTERFINALS
The quarterfinal match-up between Santa Clara and LMU will be a familiar one. Not only did the two teams play just eight day ago, but this will be the eighth all-time meeting between the two in the WCC tournament, the most against any one team for the Lions. The Lions won the first four meetings against the Broncos in the WCC tournament, claiming both its tournament titles against SCU. The last two wins came as the No. 8 seed in 1995 and 1997. Santa Clara has won the last three as the teams will meet in the tournament for the second time in three years but just the third since 2001. This will be the 140th meeting overall, the second most of any opponent for the Lions. The teams split the season series, LMU winning 84-80 on Jan. 10 and the Broncos cruising to a 79-56 win on Feb. 28. In LMU's win, Anthony Ireland scored 29 points, hitting 9-for-21 from the field and 8-for-9 from the charity stripe while Ashley Hamilton added 17. Santa Clara hit nine of their first 12 three-pointers to jump to a big early lead but 4-of-18 the rest of the way as the Lions scored 49 second half points to erase a nine-point halftime deficit. In the rematch Santa Clara started hot again, and stayed that way, hitting 51 percent from the field as Mark Trasolini led four scorers in double figures with 26 points.

- GO LIONS -

-#LMULIONS-

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