Nov. 24, 2012
Great Alaska Shootout | LMU Game Notes | GameDay Central |LMU on Facebook | LMU on Twitter
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- LMU men's basketball will conclude their third appearance in the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout on Saturday, Nov. 24 when they face host Alaska-Anchorage in the consolation finals at 3 p.m. (PT) The Lions (3-2) earned a 15-point win over North Texas on Friday and will close their 20-day road swing against the host Seawolves (5-1), who defeated UC Riverside to advance. The game will be broadcast on KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE GREAT ALASKA SHOOTOUT
The Lions are concluding their third trip to the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout since 2002. The Lions opened the tournament with a Oral Roberts 75-66 setback to Oral Roberts and then rebounded, literally, with a 78-63 win over Texas State on Friday to advance to Saturday's consolation and fourth place game against host Alaska-Anchorage at 3 p.m. (PT). Anthony Ireland has scored 53 points in the tournament, putting him over a 1,000 for his career. He netted a career-best 30 on Thursday then chipped in 23 as the Lions had a plus-16 rebounding edge in the win over Texas State. Senior Ashley Hamilton had his fourth career double-double with 13 points and a career-best 14 rebounds. Hamilton now leads the team with 8.4 rebounds per game.
Alaska-Anchorage improved to 5-1 on the season, all at home, with a 66-65 win over UC Riverside. The Seawolves fell to Belmont 74-60 on Thursday. Northeastern defeated Belmont, 74-71, and will face Charlotte, who defeated Oral Roberts 72-58, in the 35th annual Shootout championships game.
LMU played in the 2002 tournament and then again in 2006. They went 1-2 in 2002, falling to Villanova, defeating Montana and then falling to Wyoming in the finale. In 2006, the Lions went 2-1, defeating host Alaska-Anchorage and then Pacific in double overtime before falling in the Great Alaska championship game to Cal, 78-70.
INSIDE THE LIONS
The Lions are 3-2 on the young season after defeating Texas State, 78-63, Friday in the fourth of five games away from home in a 20-day road swing. Junior Anthony Ireland had his 17th 20-plus point game, giving him 53 points in the two games at the Shootout and 1,003 in his career. He continues on a hotstreak, doing a little of everything in the win over Texas State and in the opener against Oral Roberts in which he had a career-best 30 points. In the two games in Alaska, Ireland is 18-for-37 from the field, 5-for-9 from three with 11 rebounds and six assists.
Senior Ashley Hamilton had his fourth career double-double in the win over Texas State, going for 13 points and 14 rebounds. He had six offensive rebounds as the Lions totaled 17 offensive boards in the win. The Lions outrebounded Texas State 48-32, forced 14 turnovers on 10 steals, held a 22-12 edge in points off turnovers and held the Bobcats to 34.4 percent shooting from the field.
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 (23.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 5.0 apg), who was named Preseason All-WCC after earning First-Team All-Conference a year ago, Ashley Hamilton (13.0 ppg, 8.4 apg), a fifth-year senior who averaged over 11 points and 5.6 rebounds a year ago, and Godwin Okonji (5.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, who has led the team in blocks the last two years. They enter the fourth game of the season having played 224 combined games and have combined to make 193 starts. In addition, junior Ayodeji Egbeyemi (14.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 45.5 3PT%), who has started all five games of the season, and redshirt junior Alex Osborne (4.2 rpg, 1.0 spg) combine for 125 games of experience.
The youth: The rest of the Lions' scholarship roster is underclassmen. Sophomores Bruce English (missed first five games with ankle injury) and CJ Blackwell (missed first three games with knee injury, played 26 minutes in Alaska) 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. The rest of the active roster are newcomers, with transfer Chase Flint (7.4 ppg, hitting 4-for-5 from three vs. CSUB), and freshmen Taj Adams (did not play against SMU & CSUB), Marin Mornar (4.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Nick Stover (5.8 ppg in 20.2 mpg) and Adam Drexler (7.0 mpg in two games)
AT THE POINT
Junior Anthony Ireland enters the 2012-13 season turning heads and with good reason. Ireland is on the Lou Henson Player of the Year watch list and was named to the Lou Henson Award Preseason All-American Team. He also was named Preseason All-WCC as he begins his junior season as one of the most experienced players on the LMU roster, having played every single game he has been at LMU, playing 71 games with 64 starts entering game three of the Great Alaska Shootout. After 53 points in two games in Alaska, he has 115 points and 25 assists to start the season, giving him 1,003 points and 288 assists (ranked 11th all-time) in his career. He is the 33rd Lion to score 1,000 in a career. He has been on a tear since the close of last season. Going back to the Lions' three games at the CIT, which incuded a double-double and three 20-plus point games, Ireland is averaging 23 points, 6.3 rebounds and six assists per game in his last seven games. He earned his fourth career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds at SMU and then posted his 17th 20-point game Friday. The Lions are 10-7 in games when he goes over 20 points. He was the only Lion to play every game last season and was second in the WCC in minutes played at 36.5 per game. The first-team All-WCC and NABC All-District selection was second in the WCC in scoring at 16.1 points per game and fourth with 4.9 assists per contest. He earned two WCC Player of the Week honors, his second coming 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.
Ireland's Last Eight:
|Mar. 14 vs. CSF
|Mar. 18 vs. WSU
|Mar. 21 at USU
|Nov. 9 vs. PAC
|Nov. 11 at SMU
|Nov. 17 at CSUB
|Nov. 22 vs. ORU
|Nov. 23 vs. Texas State
- GO LIONS -