Season Begins Against Ranked Bruins

The Lions begin 2011-12 Friday.

Nov. 10, 2011

The 2011-12 LMU men's basketball season, which is part of Loyola Marymount's Centennial Celebration, begins with its toughest test to start a season in more than 20 years as they travel to the L.A. Sports Arena to face 17th-ranked UCLA on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. It is the first ranked opponent for the Lions to open a season since they faced eventual national champion UNLV on Nov. 15, 1989 to start the elite eight run of 1989-90. The game will be televised on Fox Sports West and on KXLU 88.9 FM.

Game 01: LMU at #17 UCLA - 7:30 p.m. Location: L.A. Sports Arena • Los Angeles, CA
TV: FS West (Joel Myers & Don MacLean)
RADIO: KXLU 88.9 FM (Jeff Lampe & Jesse Kass)
LIVE Stats: GameTracker



The Lions returning starters include preseason All-WCC selection Drew Viney (17.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), redshirt junior Ashley Hamilton (9.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg), sophomore Anthony Ireland (10.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg) and sophomore Godwin Okonji (4.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg). They also have five others who have started in their careers back this season, including Jarred DuBois who is back after a medical redshirt. Also back is sophomore Ayodeji Egbeyemi (13 starts, 5.5 ppg), Tim Diederichs (92 total games played), LaRon Armstead (77 total games, 3.7 ppg), and Edgar Garibay (3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg). Of the Lions' 11 returning letterwinners, four were starters at the end of last season, five more have at least 10 starts in their career, and four have earned West Coast Conference honors in their careers. All told, the Lions bring back 73 percent of their offense and 70 percent of their rebounding. "We had plenty of hurdles last year. Our top players lost around 64 games due to injury, and no one in our league was close to that number," said Head Coach Max Good, who ended up starting 15 different line-ups a year ago. "It is not excuse, but we were constantly having to change our line-up and it led to inconsistency, which I think had a lot to do with our inability to pull out close games." The Lions finished the 2010-11 season 11-21 and 2-12 in the WCC, going 5-13 in games decided by less than 10 points, 10 of those 13 came in WCC play, including a pair of double overtime setbacks and an additional four games by a combined 10 points (at Portland - Jan. 13 - 78-79 2ot; at Pepperdine - Jan. 22 - 75-78; USF - Jan. 27 - 60-61; at USD - Feb. 3 - 63-66; at SCU - Feb. 24 - 88-94 2ot; at USF - Feb. 26 - 75-77).

Two-time All-WCC selection Drew Viney will have the start of his redshirt senior season delayed due to surgery in his left foot. He injured the foot right before the official start of practice in mid-October. He is expected to return at the end of the month... Also out the first two games of the season is redshirt sophomore Alex Osborne. He played one game to start the 2010-11 season before it was decided to redshirt. NCAA rules require a two-for-one the following season, requiring Osborne to miss the first two games of 2011-12.

The lack of depth (playing with just seven scholarship players in Coach Good's first season), third game in five days and the defense of 12th-ranked UCLA saw the legs of Loyola Marymount men's basketball drop off in the second half as the Bruins pulled away in the second half for a 75-44 win at Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 17, 2008. "We said before that the great teams do the little and basic things really well. They played fundamentally sound and great teams expose your weakness," said Max Good. "They showed us no mercy on defense and went after us. We shot only 25 percent and I credit UCLA's defense for that." The Lions, who trailed just 44-30 after a LaRon Armstead jumper with 16:48 to play, went the next 14:43 without a field goal with just seven free throws as the Bruins built a lead as large as 36. The Lions finished the game shooting just 25 percent, 17.9 percent in the second half. LaRon Armstead led the Lions with a career-high 18 points and eight rebounds. Corey Counts added 10 points. LMU's defense was again impressive, holding the Bruins to their lowest shooting percentage at home on the season at just 39.4 percent.

The Lions played one exhibition this preseason, defeating LaVerne, 94-49, on Nov. 1. The Lions' defense shutdown LaVerne, holding them to just 27 percent shooting from the field and 20.7 percent from the three-point line. On offense the Lions finished hitting 55.9 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from long distance. Redshirt junior Jarred DuBois, who missed all but five games in serving a medical redshirt in 2010-11, led the Lions with 19 points, hitting 7-for-11 from the field. Ashley Hamilton added 17 points and seven rebounds while going 7-for-8. Anthony Ireland added 15 points and four assists while freshman C.J. Blackwell had 11 points and six rebounds. LaVerne's Trevor Woodland led all scorers with 20 points, needing 22 total shots (13 from three) to score the points. The Lions were consistent in both halves, holding LaVerne to just 19 points in the first half while outscoring them by 23. In the second half, LaVerne scored 30 but the Lions managed 52 points to outscore them by 22.

The Lions are 35-21 in season openers since it joined the West Coast Conference in 1955-56. After winning five straight openers, the Lions have dropped their last four, including a pair of heartbreakers the last two years - a tough 90-87 setback to Boise State at the Montana tournament in 2009 and 81-79 to Morgan State at home a year ago. The Lions have opened on the road five of the last six years.

The meeting against UCLA on Friday will be the 129th all-time meeting between LMU and a member of the Pac-10. With Colorado and Utah added to the mix to make the Pac-12 this season, this will be the 155th meeting against the current members of the conference. The Lions have faced USC the most, playing them 55 times, including the last meeting against a Pac-12 foe, a 67-59 win at the Galen Center on Nov. 21, 2009.

The Lions did not face a ranked opponent in 2010-11 and will quickly get one under their belts in 2011-12 with No. 17 UCLA. The Lions' last ranked opponent was No. 14 Gonzaga in the semifinals of the 2010 WCC Championships on Mar. 7, 2010. The Lions fell 77-62. Just over two weeks prior, the Lions earned a 74-66 upset win over then No. 9 Gonaga on Feb 18... The opportunities to beat a ranked team at home have been few. The building opened on Jan. 15, 1981 and since then, LMU has hosted just 15 games against a ranked opponent. Overall, in more than 75 years located on the bluff in Westchester, the Lions have hosted just 29 ranked opponents. During the Paul Westhead era, in which the Lions won three West Coast Conference titles, the Lions hosted just one ranked opponent - No. 7 Oklahoma on Dec. 23, 1989... Westhead teams own half of LMU's wins over ranked opponents in school history, the last coming on March 23, 1990 when the Lions defeated Alabama in the NCAA West Regional Semifinal, 62-60. The win over Gonzaga was the first since that victory over the Crimson Tide, snapping a 35-game skid against ranked opponents... In addition, it is 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.

The game against UCLA will be the eighth time under Head Coach Max Good the Lions will play a team from the "BCS" conferences. The Lions are 2-5 in those meetings, defeating USC (67-59) and Notre Dame (87-85) on the road in 2009-10. They played only Florida State at home in 2010-11, falling 74-63. The Lions will return that game in Florida on Dec. 18 on ESPNU... Last year's meeting against Florida State was the 44th time they will hosted a school that is a member of the current "BCS." In the last decade, the Lions have hosted Notre Dame (2008), Mississippi State (2007), USC (2005), Washington (2004) and Virginia (2003). The first was in 1949 when Pittsburgh came into Los Angeles. The Lions won that won 54-45. LMU is 15-29 all-time in those games.



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