Busy Week Ends With Trip to CSUN
The Lions make just second road trip of the season as they play final game before finals week.
LOS ANGELES - The busy pre-finals week concludes on Saturday for LMU men's basketball when they head to CSUN to take on the Matadors on Dec 10 at 7 pm. It will be just the second road game of the season for the Lions (3-3), who wrap-up a stretch of three games in six days as finals begin on Monday. Tip-off against the Matadors (3-6) is set for 7 pm on BigWest.tv and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
|Date | Time:||Saturday, Dec. 10 | 7 pm (PT)|
|Where:||Matadome | Northridge, CA|
|PREVIEW:||LMU Game Notes|
|The Match-up:||LMU: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
CSUN: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
|RADIO:||KXLU 88.9 FM | Listien Online|
|GameDay Info:||CSUN Tickets | GAMEDAY CENTRAL | BUY TICKETS|
THE MATCH-UP With just four games in the first month of the season, the Lions will pick up the pace quickly in December. It started Monday with Boise State, opening a stretch of three games in six days. They will play nine games in the month, including six in the final two weeks of the year. The Lions are 3-3 after defeating Southern Utah on Thursday night, 75-68. The Lions enter the week leading the West Coast Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense (26.6 percent), which is also ranked 10th within the NCAA as of Dec. 8. They also lead the WCC in steals (7.7 spg), while ranking second in the league in assists (18.7 apg) after dishing out 26 on Monday. They are ranked 15th within the NCAA in assists per game.
CSUN enters Saturday's game at 3-6 overall on the season, defeating Pomona-Pitzer to open the season, Northern Illinois (Nov. 19) and Idaho State (79-76). They are coming off a 76-70 loss at St. John's on Dec. 5. The other set-backs came against some of the top in the nation, falling to UCLA, Stanford, Texas A&M, New Mexico and Portland, 96-78 on Nov. 27 in Portland. Five players doe the bulk of the scoring with four in double figures, including Travion Dawson and Kendall Smith at 14.8 and 14.4 ppg, respectively. Like Southern Utah, the Matadors like to get to the free throw line. They are ranked 28th nationally with 170 free throws made and 33rd with 235 attempts.
This will be the 20th meeting between the two programs, the second season in a row the teams will meet. The teams went over a decade between meetings before last seasons overtime affair at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions won 82-80 on Nov. 25. The previous meeting came on Nov. 25, 2003 when the Lions won 81-70 at Gersten. The last meeting at the Matadome was on Dec. 19, 2002 when the Matadors won 74-71. LMU leads the all-time series 12-7, going 8-1 at home and 3-6 in Northridge.
INSIDE THE LIONS Five games into the season, the Lions (3-3) are led by the core of upperclassmen and it's five seniors. Coming off a career-best 26 points Thursday, Brandon Brown leads the Lions with 14.7 points and 5.3 assists per game, going for a season-best nine assists against Boise State. He has scored in double digits the last five games, chipping in 13 Monday. Within the WCC, Buay Tuach is ranked in the top-25 in points, assists, steals. He is 24th in points (11.5), 13th in assists (3.2) and 5th in steals (1.5) with a team-high nine. The Lions have six players averaging eight or more points on the season. Junior Steven Haney averages 9.2 ppg, while seniors Shamar Johnson, Kelvin Amayo and Stefan Jovanovic average 8.3, 8.3 and 8.2 ppg respectively.
Last year the Lions ranked 26th nationally in turnover margin and set the school record for assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.37 (which was third in the WCC). They are currently second in the WCC in both categories with a turnover margin at +1.3 and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.3. They are ranked 45th in the NCAA in assist-to-turnovers.
As of Dec. 8, the Lions led the WCC in three-point field goal percentage defense, holding teams to 26.6 percent, which as mentioned is 10th in the NCAA. Against SUU, who entered the game in the top-50 nationally in three-pointers, the Lions held them to 8-for-29 (27.6 percent). The season numbers includes Vanguard hitting 4-for-32 (.125), Nevada 6-for-17 (.353), UCONN 6-for-23 (26.1) and Portland State 5-for-21 (23.8 percent), including a 1-for-7 clip in the second half. Boise State finished 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from three on Monday, but went just 2-for-6 in the second half. The Lions' defense has been tough in the second half. The Lions are holding opponents to just 14-for-67 from three, 20.9 percent in the second frame.
LMU is 15th nationally in assists per game, dishing out 18.7 per game through six games. They have five players with an average of two or better on the season, led by the senior Brown at 5.3. Buay Tuach, who has 24 assists all of last year in his first season at LMU, has 19 in just six games and is among the WCC leaders with 3.2 per game. Shamar Johnson and Kelvin Amayo have 15 on the season for a 2.5 average. Munis Tutu averages 2.0 apg. The Lions opened the season with 27 assists on 36 made field goals against Vanguard. Brown ranked 10th all-time in LMU history with 177 assists last season while Tutu set the record for assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.69. The 27 assists was the most since putting up 30 against La Sierra on Dec. 21, 2013. They had 26 assists on 34 field goals against Boise State.
The Lions outscored UCONN 13-6 in points off turnovers and on the season LMU has outscored opponents 76-63 on turnovers. SUU outscored the Lions 17-9. The Lions are tops in the WCC averaging 7.7 steals per game and had 10 against both UCONN and Vanguard. It has been balanced across the roster. Buay Tuach leads the Lions with nine, grabbing two against Portland State and Boise State. Kelvin Amayo has eight, grabbing three against UCONN and two against Boise State. Brandon Brown have seven and Munis Tutu has six. Brown had two against BSU while Tutu had three against Vanguard.
The Lions shot over 50 percent from the field in back-to-back games, hitting 52.3 percent against Boise State after going for a season-best 57.4 percent in the win over Portland State. They hit 62.1 percent in the second half to erase a 10-point deficit. It is the third game this season the Lions have hit better than 50 percent, hitting 50.7 percent against Vanguard. It is the first time the Lions have posted back-to-back games over 50 percent since December of 2009. They hit 50 percent against Montana on Dec. 10 and then hit 51.6 percent in a win at Notre Dame on Dec. 12. They did it just twice all of last year.
The Lions post play has been key early this season, scoring 200 points in the paint in the first four games, including a seasons best 44 points on Monday. They held a 44-36 edge over Boise State, a 42-28 edge at Nevada and a 36-32 edge against PSU. Senior Shamar Johnson, who led the Lions Monday with 14 points and seven rebounds, is eighth in the WCC shooting 52.2 percent. Fellow senior Tuach is 10th at 50.0 percent. Also at 50 percent or better this season from the field are Stefan Jovanovic hitting 19-for-38 and freshman Mattias Markusson at 7-for-11.
The 48-point win to open the season was tied for the sixth largest in program history, equaling the Lions 78-31 win over San Diego on Dec. 10, 1958. Buay Tuach led the Lions with a career-best 20 points and Jeffery McClendon also netted a career-best with 15. They opened a new season with a win for the sixth straight season, improving to 41-21 in season openers since 1955-56.
In that win, the Lions scored 57 points in the first 20 minutes. It was the most points in the opening half since the 1991 season... In the second half, LMU held the Lions to just 17 points, limiting them to just 5-for-35 from the field and 1-for-18 from the three-point line. It was the lowest half by an opponent since the Lions held Seattle to just 11 first half points in an 83-51 win on Nov. 23, 1996.
The Lions out-rebounded Vanguard 59-36. Petr Herman led the Lions with 10 rebounds while adding eight points. The 59 rebounds were the most since they had 61 against Pacifica on Nov. 9, 2012. Freshman center Mattias Markusson had eight points and eight rebounds in his debut. His eight rebounds was one shy of Wyking Jones record of nine rebounds for most in a freshman's first game. Jones did it against Morgan State on Nov. 22, 1991.
The Lions return seven letterwinners from last year's 2015-16 squad that finished six games better than the year before at 14-16 overall and 6-12 in the WCC (tied for 7th). The Lions have five seniors on the squad in 2016-17, including All-WCC selection Brandon Brown. Joining Brown after their first season as transfers last year are Shamar Johnson and Buay Tuach. Adding more senior leadership will be Stefan Jovanovic, a transfer from Hawaii who went 28-6 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, and Kelvin Amayo, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
UPNEXT The Lions will then have finals week before returning home to host Incarnate Word on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 4 pm. The game is part of Alumni Family Day which features a doubleheader with the women and a special Alumni Tailgate Party. The action starts at noon with the tailgate, followed by the women taking on UC Riverside at 1 pm. Alumni can get special discounted tickets for $15 (13 and older - 12 and under are free!). The price includes admission to both games, admission to the tailgate, complimentary drink ticket (21+ and adults only), and a meal voucher for the concession stand for a a hot dog and soft drink. The tailgate will continue between games. For discounted tickets to the game and tailgate party, click here.
As the semester wraps-up, the Lions will enter a stretch of games over the holidays. Follow the Alumni Day at the Game on Dec. 17, the Lions will host four games over the two holiday break. LMU will travel to Colorado State on Dec. 19 and then return home to face UT-Arlington on Dec. 22, Morgan State for the sixth annual LMU Holiday Classic on Dec. 26, start WCC play with Saint Mary's on Dec. 29 and then end the year with BYU on Dec. 31. For tickets, visit LMULions.com/Tickets.
The best way to get tickets to this season of LMU basketball is still through season tickets. To renew season tickets, click MY ACCOUNT. To buy new season ticket, click BUY TICKETS. Have the promo code for the local community season ticket, click PROMO CODE.
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