A Quick SoCal Stop

Gabe Levin

Dec. 1, 2013

The Last Meeting
UC Riverside59
Loyola Marymount52
December 15, 2008
Gersten Pavilion
Impressive Defense Not Enough For Short-Handed Lions
Playing one of its stingiest defensive stretches of the season in erasing a double-digit first half deficit, the Loyola Marymount men's basketball team could not capitalize offensively as they slipped down the stretch, falling to UC Riverside 59-52 in non-conference action at Gersten Pavilion on Monday night.

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LOS ANGELES -- LMU men's basketball is halfway through its month-long road trip that will see them travel 15,550 miles. The shortest part of the trip is up next as the Lions take a one-game stop in Southern California, traveling the 75 miles to UC Riverside (2-3) to face the Highlanders on Monday, Dec. 2 at 7 pm. The Lions return from the 2013 Paradise Jam at 5-2 on the season, equaling its best start since 2006-07. The game can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM and on LMULions.com.


GAME: LMU (5-2) at UC Riverside (2-3)
DATE/TIME: Dec. 2, 2013 // 7:00 p.m. (PST)
LOCATION: SRC Arena // Riverside, CA
TV: None
RADIO: KXLU 88.9 FM (Jesse Kass, Drew Rossi)
WEBCAST: GoHighlanders.com
LIVE STATS: Stats at GoHighlanders.com
RESOURCES: GameDay: Buy Tickets | GameDay Central | Donate
Game Notes: Interactive | PDFGet Acrobat Reader
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Just five non-conference match-ups remain before the start of the West Coast Conference season as the Lions will face their second of three Big West opponents. This will be just the seventh meeting between the two SoCal universities, the fewest for the Lions against the 13 NCAA Division I institutions in Southern California (from Cal Poly to San Diego). The last meeting came in Head Coach Max Good's first season in 2008-09 with the Highlanders winning their third in a row, 59-52. The Lions will be looking for their first win in four trips at UC Riverside. The Highlanders fell at home to Pepperdine, 69-66, on Nov. 13 and are coming off a 69-68 setback at Seattle on Nov. 25.

• LMU finished the 2013 Ezybonds Virgin Islands Paradise Jam at 1-2, bringing their record on the season to 5-2, equaling the best start since the 2006-07 team. Senior Anthony Ireland led the team in St. Thomas with 23 points per contest to earn Paradise Jam All-Tournament honors, one of six players named from the eight participating teams. He had three straight 20-point games, giving him 34 in his career.

• The Paradise Jam is part of a six-game, month-long road trip for the Lions that will see them travel more than 15,500 miles before returning home on Dec. 17. It started with a 7,543-mile road trip to the Virgin Islands and continues with the shortest leg of the road trip. The Lions will bus 150 miles round trip to UC Riverside on Monday before boarding a plane once again for the east coast. The Lions will fly 4,300 miles round trip to face Pittsburgh on Friday, Dec. 6. Following finals week, the Lions will complete the road swing with a 3,500-mile road trip to face Valparaiso on Dec. 14. All told, the Lions will travel 15,843 for their non-conference portion of the schedule.

Miles traveled in non-conference:
LMU to San Diego: 250
LMU to Long Beach St.: 44
Virgin Islands Paradise Jam: 7,543
LMU to UC Riverside: 144
LMU to Pittsburgh: 4,298
LMU to Valparaiso: 3,564
Grand Total:15,843

• While Ireland's performance earned All-Tournament honors, the young roster continues to turn heads. Freshman Evan Payne scored 22 points, ranked 18th all-time for points by a freshman at LMU, against Northern Iowa and earned his first two starts in the final two games. Fellow freshman Gabe Levin went for double figures once again in all three games, making him the only freshman to start his career with seven straight double figure games. In addition, he added 14 rebounds for his second straight double-double against NIU. He is the first freshman in LMU history to go for back-to-back double-doubles and his 14 boards tied Kenny Hotopp for second all-time for rebounds in a game by a freshman. He is one of just five freshman to have multiple double-doubles in their debut season (Kevin Young - 4 - `08-09; Orlando Johnson - 3 - `07-08; Andy Osborn - 3 - `01-02; Luther Philyaw - 2 - `72-73). The 14 boards is tied for second among freshman in a single game at LMU. Sophomore transfer Ben Dickinson had double figure games against both Marist and Vanderbilt while freshman Nino Jackson and Marin Mornar were stat stuffers in limited minutes. Mornar had a block in every game at the tournament, leading the team with nine on the season. He had a season best seven points, two rebounds, a block and a steal against Vanderbilt. Jackson had his first considerable minutes since the opener, playing 17 minutes with two points, four rebounds, a block and a steal.

• In three games at the Paradise Jam, senior Anthony Ireland finished averaging 23.0 points per contest, getting his 32nd career 20-point game with 24 against Northern Iowa on Friday, earning his 33rd with 25 in the win over Marist and then posting 20 on Monday night against Vanderbilt. He finished averaging 3.7 assists with just 1.3 turnovers, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.3 steals. He also finished hitting 21-for-23 from the free throw line (91.3 percent). His start against Vanderbilt was the 100th of his career, making him just the fourth player in LMU history to reach the century mark (joining Mark Armstrong - 109, Mike Yoest - 103, and Jim Williamson - 101). With 135 points, 38 assists and 15 steals to start the season, Ireland moved ahead of Jim Haderlein for seventh all-time in LMU history with 1,711 points. He also moved to fifth with 422 assists and seventh with 162 steals.

• Four Lions had double figures in both wins last week and in the setback to Northern Iowa. LMU entered the Thanksgiving weekend as one of four teams in the West Coast Conference to average more than 80 points - BYU, Gonzaga, San Francisco, LMU. Through seven games, the Lions are averaging 80.7 points per game. The last time the Lions averaged over 75 points a game in a season was in 2009-10 at 75.8 ppg. They averaged 75.9 in 1998-99, 79.0 in 1993-94, and 91.1 in 1991-92. The all-time record is 122.4 ppg in that 1989-90 Elite Eight season.

• Four Lions average double figures, led by senior Anthony Ireland at 19.3 ppg. The next three in double figures are all new to the Lions' line-up. Freshman Gabe Levin has scored double figures in his first seven games as a Lion, scoring eight of his 11 points in the second half against Marist and finishing one rebound shy of his third straight double-double. He is second on the team with 12.7 ppg, right ahead of fellow freshman Evan Payne, who is now averaging 12.4 ppg after 22 against Northern Iowa on Friday and earning his first career start against Marist on Saturday. Sophomore transfer Ben Dickinson (Binghamton) is fourth at 11.6 ppg, getting 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting against Marist. He leads all starters shooting 59.0 percent on the season from the field.

• The Lions had three 20-point scorers in the win over South Dakota St., the first time that has happened since the record-setting LMU-USIU game on Jan. 5, 1991. Dickinson had 22 points while Ireland and Levin had 20 points each. The last time it happened, the Lions set the NCAA record for points in a 186-140 win. Five Lions went for more than 20 points (Terrell Lowery - 34, Richard Petruska - 28, Chris Knight - 27, Rahim Harris - 24, Ross Richardson - 24). Against Northern Arizona, the Lions had a pair of players with double-doubles. Anthony Ireland had 18 points and 10 assists for his sixth career double-double while freshman Gabe Levin had his first with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

• The Lions finished the two games at the San Diego Classic shooting 52.1 percent, including 57.6 percent in the win on Saturday. It was the Lions' best shooting night from the field against an NCAA Division I opponent since hitting 59.3 percent against Seattle on Dec. 30, 2009. The Lions hit 57.7 percent against Pacifica in the opener last season. After shooting 37.7 percent against LBSU, the Lions hit 55.4 percent against Northern Arizona, including 65.6 percent in the second half. On the season, the Lions are hitting 46.7 percent from the field. The last time the Lions finished a season over 45 percent from the field as a team was in 2009-10, hitting 45.6 percent. They hit 46.4 percent in 1995-96, 47.7 in 1991-92 and 48.2 in 1990-91. The record is 51.9 percent in that very same 1989-90 season.

• 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:

Ireland has not missed a game in his three-year career, playing in all 107 of the games LMU has played the last three-plus years. He earned his 100th start against Vanderbilt. He has done this while losing a tooth during a game, not missing a second in the process against Alaska-Anchorage; playing the season needing knee surgery as a junior; needing stitches in his lower lip during a game as a sophomore. He is at it again in 2013-14. As of Nov. 29, Ireland is second in the West Coast Conference in scoring (19.3 ppg), third in assists (5.3 apg), sixth in free throw percentage (87.5%), first in steals (2.14 spg), and third in minutes played (33.9 mpg). As the Lions' lone scoring threat in 2012-13, he was the target of opposing defenses who played aggressive against him, sending him to the line 203 times, ranked 12th all-time in LMU history. Entering the game against UC Riverside, Ireland ranks seventh with 376 free throws made. Former teammate Vernon Teel is sixth with 377 and Hank Gathers is fifth with 416. Mike Yoest is the all-time leader with 561 made free throws. Ireland was named LMU's first NABC All-District selection as a sophomore and was a Lou Henson Preseason All-American and honorable mention Jesuit All-American in 2011-12. He was named preseason All-American again this preseason. Entering Nov. 29, Ireland has played 2,752 of a possible 3,035 minutes (90.6 percent) since his sophomore season. He led the Lions in scoring in 30 of 34 games last season and has done it in five of the last seven this season.

• At the Paradise Jam, the Lions had double-digit offensive rebounds in all three games, making it seven for seven in games to start the season. The Lions grabbed 17 offensive rebounds to cut a 23-point deficit to five against NIU, and against Long Beach State the Lions had 19 offensive boards and held a 45-30 edge on the glass. They used five of their 19 offensive rebounds in the final minute to get the win. Trailing by five with 1:04 to play, Evan Payne cut the lead to 73-70 and was fouled. He would miss the free throw, but fellow freshman Gabe Levin grabbed the offensive rebound to give the Lions the possession. After a timeout with 46.5 left, Payne missed a three-pointer but Chase Flint grabbed the offensive rebound. Ireland then missed with 16 seconds left but he would grab his own miss to keep possession yet again. After a timeout with 11 seconds left, the Lions ran a play for Levin who went in for a dunk. It was altered at the basket and lipped out. But yet again the Lions found the rebound. This time it was Dickinson, whose outback cut the lead to 73-72 with seven seconds left. LMU, who had pressed most of the game, pressured Caffey along the sideline and forced him to step on the line for the turnover. Ireland would take the inbound and was fouled by Caffey at about the same spot with 4.9 left. Ireland, who is sixth in the WCC in free throw percentage, drained both.


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