Season Begins in Familiar Territory
Men's basketball opens season at San Diego Classic, facing Grand Canyon Friday.
Nov. 7, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- The 2013-14 LMU men's basketball season will begin with a familiar trip, playing in the 2013 San Diego Classic hosted by the Toreros at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. LMU will open the tournament and the season when they face Grand Canyon University on Friday, Nov. 8 at 4:30 pm. They will follow with 2013 Summit League champion and NCAA tournament participant South Dakota St. on Saturday at 3:30 pm. Both games can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM, while Friday's game will be televised by COX, Channel 4 in San Diego and Channel 7 in Arizona and streamed on Cox7.com.
INSIDE THE LIONS
Two of last year's starters - seniors Alex Osborne and Godwin Okonji - did not play Saturday due to leg injury. Osborne was cleared prior to the exhibition and practiced with the Lions this week. Okonji remains out indefinitely after a leg injury suffered in a car accident while heading to practice on Oct. 30 (see LMULions.com for more). Freshman Evan Payne did not play Saturday due to a knee injury but has been cleared to practice since last week.
While the Lions feature 10 total underclassmen on their 16-man roster, they have plenty of experience. Seniors Anthony Ireland, Ayodeji Egbeyemi, Alex Osborne and Godwin Okonji enter the 2013-14 season having played a combined 372 games in an LMU uniform. Ireland has played all 100 games LMU has played in during his career, playing nearly 92 percent of the available minutes the last two years. Egbeyemi has played in 83 games, while Osborne and Okonji near the century mark with 93 and 96, respectively.
The 2013-14 season opens at the San Diego Classic hosted by WCC rival USD at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Lions will play two opponents they have never faced in program history in a venue they are familiar with. The Lions will open with NCAA Division I newcomer Grand Canyon on Friday, followed by Summit League Champion South Dakota State on Saturday. Both opponents went to the NCAA tournament last year, as the Lopes went 23-8 and fell in the NCAA Division II regionals against Seattle Pacific, while the Jackrabbits finished 25-10 and fell to Michigan in the first round. As for the Jenny Craig Pavilion, it opened in the fall of 2000 and the Lions have played in the facility 18 times since then, 13 times against San Diego in WCC play and five games as a neutral floor when USD hosted the WCC tournament. The Lions are 6-12 at the JCP (5-8 against USD).
This will be the fifth season opener for Head Coach Max Good (he did not coach the opener in 2008-09, see his bio for more) and the Lions are 2-2 in his previous four season openers. The Lions fell in their first two openers by a combined five points (90-87 vs. Boise State at Montana Tournament in 2009; 81-79 vs. Morgan State at home in 2010) and then defeated No. 17 UCLA at the Sports Arena, 69-58, in 2011 and Pacifica (109-49) a year ago. The Lions are 37-21 in season openers since they joined the West Coast Conference in 1955-56. This is the third time since the current coaching staff took over the program that they will open the season in a tournament. In 2008 it was the BTI Invitational at Iowa State and in 2009 it was at Montana's Grizzly Classic. LMU will play in a pair of non-conference tournaments this season, making it the 13th straight year the Lions have made an appearance in a regular-season tournament. LMU will also play in the Ezybonds Virgin Islands Paradise Jam on Nov. 22-25.
In 2012-13, LMU men's basketball earned three straight wins at the WCC Championships to advance to the semifinals for the second time in four years. BYU excluded, only LMU, Gonzaga and Saint Mary's have gone to the quarterfinals and beyond in each of the last four WCC tournaments.
Max Good, who is in his sixth season in 2013-14, enters the season fifth all-time in program history in wins (64), sixth in conference wins (23) and second in WCC tournament wins (6).
Last year, Anthony Ireland finished second in the WCC and 14th nationally with 20.2 ppg in 2012-13. He finished with 688 points, seventh all-time at LMU and just the 15th time someone has scored at least 600 points in a single season in LMU history. Ireland is the first Lion to earn back-to-back first-team All-WCC honors since 2007 and is just the second junior to do it all-time (Hank Gathers).
A Grand Finale: Senior Anthony Ireland enters his final season all over the record books at LMU with the projection to do even more. He enters the season as a Preseason All-WCC selection and is:
2014 Senior CLASS Award Candidate
Watch-list for the Bob Cousy Award
Preseason Lou Henson Award All-American
WCC Best Player Selection (sbnation and College Hoops Journal)
One of nation's most unknow top players (CBS)
LMU Magazine: "Ice Man"
College Hoops Daily