Ashley Hamilton is one of three returning starters for the Lions.
Nov. 8, 2012
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LOS ANGELES -- The 2012-13 men's basketball season is finally at its starting point when LMU opens the campaign against third-year program Pacifica at Gersten Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. The Lions will combine a little of the established from a 21-win season in 2011-12 with a little bit more of the unknown thanks to seven newcomers to the roster. Follow each and every game on the season on KXLU 88.9 FM and online through LMULions.com. The opener can also be seen on Lions' All-Access.
INSIDE THE LIONS
LMU returns eight letterwinners, including three starters, from the 2011-12 season that finished 21-13 overall and 11-5 (4th) in the WCC. Many of the Lions' marks last season trace 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.
It will be a combination of experience and the unknown as the Lions will enter the season with a 15-man roster that has just 15 years of NCAA Division-I basketball experience - one of the youngest rosters in the country.
The experience: LMU returns starters Anthony Ireland, who was named Preseason All-WCC after earning First-Team All-Conference a year ago, Ashley Hamilton, a fifth-year senior who averaged over 11 points and 5.6 rebounds a year ago, and Godwin Okonji, who has led the team in blocks the last two years. They enter the season having played 209 combined games and have combined to make 178 starts. In addition, redshirt junior Alex Osborne and junior Ayodeji Egbeyemi come off the bench with 117 games of experience.
The youth: The rest of the Lions' scholarship roster is underclassmen. Sophomores Bruce English and CJ Blackwell had solid first seasons, with English earning the start in the exhibition game on Oct. 30 while Blackwell showed flashes of offensive fireworks a year ago but remains out three to four weeks due to a foot injury. The rest of the active roster are newcomers, with transfer Chase Flint, and freshmen Taj Adams, Marin Mornar and Nick Stover.
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. The Lions held opponents to a league low 30.2 percent from long range overall, while limiting opponents to just 28.4 percent in WCC games. The Lions led the WCC in free throw percentage at 73.8 percent on the season. In the final three games at Gersten Pavilion, they 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 finished with 12 victories at Gersten Pavilion a year ago, 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 last season was 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 a final 9-4 record away from home. It's 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 9-4 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 winning streak to start WCC road play, matching the 1990-91 team for the most consecutive road wins (overall).
The Lions played 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.
LMU will take on Pacifica for the first time in program history. The Gladiators are a new program, entering just its third year of play. The season opener is Military Appreciation Night sponsored by the LMU Student Veterans Office and by The ROAR. ROAR members can get a special ROAR Trucker Hat giveaway at the game and Kuumba Beatz will perform at halftime. It will also be the debut for the new LMU Pep Band. The Loft will also be open prior to the game for those with an LMU OneCard. For complete information, including parking info, visit:
Fans can get all the latest information on coming to a game this 2012-13 season at GameDay Central, including information on the new parking policies at LMU.
Fans are reminded that starting in August, LMU charges for parking on campus. FANS ARE ENCOURAGE TO PURCHASE PARKING IN ADVANCE. Parking is enforced Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. For complete information, visit the following resources:
LMU|LA Parking Website | LMUPark | Where to Park | Fees | How to Pay | GameDay Central Parking Info
The Lions continue to prepare for their season opener on Nov. 9 and season tickets are still available, including special Friends and Family pricing. Visit the Ticket Homepage for more information.
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