Seniors Look Back on Record-Setting Season, Career
Seniors helped pace men's basketball to best season since 1990, and set the table for years to come.
May 31, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The Class of 2012 for the LMU men's basketball program saw a little of everything in their four years with the Lions, culminating with the Lions' best season since 1990. They saved their best for last, helping LMU to a 21-13 record and a pair of postseason wins in their final season. Seniors Drew Viney, Tim Diederichs and LaRon Armstead talked to Lions' All-Access about their experience at helping LMU to its best season in 20-plus years.
LMU finished the 2011-12 season at 21-13 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 (9-4). 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.
"When we first came in, we had to play some games with just seven guys and had to work just to get three or four wins," said senior LaRon Armstead. "But our goals stayed the same, to turn this program around. We finish with a 20-win season, postseason wins. Not bad."
Graduating and ending their career at LMU this past season where Armstead, Viney, Jarred DuBois (who will transfer to go to graduate school for his redshirt senior season), Daniel Latimer, Kelsey Chine and Diederichs.
The group helped the Lions have the best turnaround in the nation (+15) from their first season in 2008-09 (3-28) to 2009-10 (18-16) and claimed some of the program's biggest regular season wins.
This past season, the Lions won 12 games at Gersten Pavilion, the second most since the building opened in 1981-82. The win over No. 16 Saint Mary's in the final road game of the regular season improved the Lions to 7-1 on the road in WCC play and helped them finish 9-4 overall away from home. It is the best road record since winning 11 games in that Elite Eight season of 1989-90.
This past season, the Lions went 3-2 against ranked opponents, and in their last eight games, the Lions are 4-4 against ranked teams. The Lions earned wins over No. 17 UCLA, No. 22 Saint Louis and No. 16 Saint Mary's in 2011-12 and in 2009-10, the Lions had the biggest victory at Gersten Pavilion in program history, knocking off No. 9 Gonzaga.
It was the second highest ranked opponent LMU has defeated in school history. The Lions defeated USC in the third place game of the 1961 NCAA West Sub-Regional, 69-67, on March 18, 1961. During that time, the final poll was done before the NCAA tournament and the Trojans were ranked seventh by the Associated Press and fifth by the coaches' poll. In addition, it is the first win at home over a ranked opponent since that 1960-61 squad that won the school's first conference championship. They defeated 18th-ranked Utah that season, 85-64 on Dec. 1, 1960.
In addition to the wins, many from the Class of 2012 are in the LMU record books. LMU finished the 2011-12 season ranked 20th in the NCAA Division I National Rankings in three-point field goal defense and 39th in free throw percentage. Armstead ranked 27th nationally in free throw shooting, hitting 87 percent.
Three-time All-WCC selection Drew Viney became the 31st player in school history to reach a 1,000 points and 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.
Viney finishes his career ranked 15th with 1,364 points, 15th with a scoring average of 16.4 and 20th with 535 rebounds. Joining him on the 1,000-point list is DuBois, who finishes his career with 1,139 points, good for 23rd all-time. For a complete look at the career records, visit the LMU History Section.