Postseason Run Continues with Quarterfinals
CIT GAME NOTES: Men's basketball plays Utah State in one of four quarterfinals for the 2012 CIT on Wednesday.
March 20, 2012
Posting back-to-back wins in the postseason for the first time since the 1989-90 Elite Eight team, LMU men's basketball has advanced to the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament quarterfinals. The Lions will travel to Logan, Utah, to face Utah State on Wednesday, Mar. 21 at 6 p.m. (PT). LMU earned its 21st win on the season on Wednesday in the second round win, fouth best win total in school history. The quarterfinal game can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM with live broadcast on the CIT website.
GAME: LMU (21-12) at Utah State (19-15)
INSIDE THE LIONS
LMU enters the quarterfinals of the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at 21-12 overall on the season after going 11-5 (4th) in the WCC. Many of the Lions' marks this season go back to the 1989-90 Elite Team, including its first 20-win season, the most conference wins, first postseason win, first team to earn consecutive postseason wins, most home wins (12), and best road record (9-3). In addition, the 21 wins is the fourth most in school history and the Lions' 11 conference wins is tied with the 1967-68 team for the third most.
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. In addition, Ireland earned second-team NABC All-District honors, the first Lion on record to earn the honor. The Lions have now had a pair of All-WCC selections in each of the last three seasons. Ireland and Viney are one-two on the team in scoring at 15.9 and 15.5 points per game, respectively. Viney is the 14th player in school history to earn three All-WCC honors. Ireland had his 10th 20-point game of the season and second double-double with 20 points and 10 assists in the win over Weber State. He is ranked second in the league in scoring after earning All-Freshman honors a year ago.
Entering the CIT quarterfinals, LMU is ranked 23rd in the NCAA Division I National Rankings in three-point field goal defense and 36th in free throw percentage. The Lions are holding opponents to a league low 30.4 percent from long range overall, while limiting opponents to just 28.4 percent in WCC games. The Lions have held 15 teams under 30 percent for the game, including Weber State's 26.1 percent on Wednesday (nearly 20 percent lower than their average entering the game), as well as BYU's 2-for-25 (8 percent) effort, Pepperdine's 2-for-15 effort (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 lead the WCC in free throw percentage at 74.2 percent on the season, good for 36th in the NCAA. In the last three games at Gersten Pavilion, they have hit 83-of-102, including a 31-for-35 (88.6%) clip in the regular season final against Santa Clara and then a 32-for-40 (80%) clip against CSF in the first round of the CIT. The Lions' top-six scorers hit better than 70.7 percent, including Jarred DuBois' 87.5 percent and LaRon Armstead's 87.0 percent, who are one-two in the WCC. Armstead qualifies for NCAA rankings, and sits at 27th nationally. Anthony Ireland is ninth in the WCC at 77.7 percent.
With the two home wins in the CIT, the Lions have 12 victories at Gersten Pavilion on the season, the second most (1986, 1990, 1996) since the building opened in 1981-82. The 14-0 record at home in 1987-88 is the most in school history. In addition, the 49,597 combined attendance is the most in school history.
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 9-3 overall road record, is the best road record since winning 11 games in that Elite Eight season. Included in this season's road record was a 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 made per game. For the first time since the win over #16 Saint Mary's, the Lions hit more than seven three-pointers in the win over Weber State. The Lions hit nine, seven in the first half alone, against the Wildcats, improving to 10-2 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 improved to 17-2 when leading at the half (9-1 in WCC), 13-1 (6-0) when outrebounding their opponent (including a 48-31 edge over Weber State), 20-5 (10-2) when shooting better than 40 percent (hitting 42.2 percent against the Wildcats), 13-1 (6-0) when holding their opponent to less than 40 percent (38.5% for WSU), and 15-0 (7-0) when scoring 70 or more points.
The Lions have played in four overtime games in a season for the first time since 1994-95, winning all four. It is the first time in program history the Lions have won four overtime games in a single season.
The Lions have found success in the big games under Head Coach Max Good. The trip to the 2012 CIT is the team's second postseason trip in three seasons. Prior to Good's arrival, it was 20 years since the Lions last made a trip to postseason play. The Lions are 3-2 this season (W - #17 UCLA, #23 Saint Louis, #16 Saint Mary's; L - #23 Gonzaga, #16 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 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 toward the end of the season and 13 games overall. With two wins in the CIT, that line-up is now 10-3. The Lions inserted senior Tim Diederichs in the starting line-up during the final game of the year for Senior Day and then DuBois earned the start in place of LaRon Armstead in the WCC tournament due to a strained back. Armstead did play. 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... Ayodeji Egbeyemi has missed the last three games due to a stress fracture in his shooting hand. He is done for the rest of the season... Prior to the team's departure to USF Dec. 31, redshirt sophomore Edgar Garibay asked for and was granted his release from the program.
AT THE POINT
Sophomore Anthony Ireland started the season scoring 22 or more points in four of five games, and with his back-to-back 20-point performances in the CIT, he now has 10 games with 20 or more on the season and 12 in his young career. He is the only Lion to play every game this season and he is second in the WCC in minutes played at 36.5 per game. The first-team All-WCC selection is second in the WCC in scoring at 15.9 points per game and fourth with 5.0 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 did it again with the 20-point, 10-assist effort against Weber State. 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 164 assists on the season and 259 career assists in his career. His season total is tied for 11th in LMU history and his career total ranks 14th all-time. He also has 54 steals (tied for 15th all-time) on the season (1.64 spg) to rank sixth 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 CIT second round averaging 15.5 points, 5.6 rebounds with 21 blocks, 28 steals and 35 assists in 23 games. He is second on the team with 40 three-pointers. His career numbers continue to move up in the LMU career record books. Here is where he is as of Mar. 19: 15th with 1,355 points 15th with 16.5 ppg 18th with 466 made field goals 20th with 1,010 field goal attempts 7th with 141 three-pointers made 9th with 335 three-pointer attempts 3rd with a 42.1 three-point field goal percentage 16th with 282 free throws made 25th with 352 free throws attemted 17th with a 80.1 free throw percentage 20th with 531 rebounds 5th with 85 blocks 28th with 87 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, as he now ranks tied for 21st with 108 games played. Fellow senior Tim Diederichs became the 31st to hit a 100 in the game against Gonzaga. He is 26th with 104. 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. His heart was evident against San Francisco in the WCC tournament, scoring nine points with two rebounds in 21 minutes despite a strained lower back. Then in the first game after the passing of his mother (March 6), he went for 16 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes against CSF on Wednesday. He is fifth on the team with 8.0 points per game while adding 2.8 rebounds, and 21 steals. In addition to his free throws, he has hit 33 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 10.2 points per game this season after going for 13 against Weber State to rank 21st in the WCC. He now has 1,131 points in his career, and is fifth all-time with 146 career three-pointers, 15th with a career three-point percentage of 37.0, fifth with a career free throw percentage of 84.4 percent and 17th with 231 career assists.
LIONS IN OT
LMU improved to 35-44 in overtime games thanks to a 4-0 record in overtime in 2011-12. The first overtime game in LMU history came in the 1926-27 season against California Christian College, a 16-14 win for the Lions. The longest game in LMU history was a five-overtime affair against Fresno State in 1957. The Lions lost 92-90. The Lions are 7-2 in overtime games under Head Coach Max Good, defeating Idaho State twice, San Francisco and Weber State in 2011-12.
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