Men's Basketball

Finals Week Sends Lions East

Godwin Okonji

Godwin Okonji

Dec. 16, 2011

LMULIONS.COM GAMEDAY:

GAME: Game 11: LMU (6-4) at Florida State (7-3)
DATE/TIME: Dec. 18, 2011 // 12:00 p.m. (PST)
LOCATION: The Tucker Center • Tallahassee, Fla.
TV: ESPNU (Doug Bell and Carolyn Peck)
RADIO: KXLU 88.9 FM (Jeff Lampe)
WEBCAST: ESPN3
LIVE Stats: GameTracker
RESOURCES:

Following a week of finals, LMU men's basketball will head east for their final non-conference road trip of the 2011-12 season. The two-game road swing will start with Florida State on Sunday, Dec. 18. Its is the second meeting between LMU and the Seminoles and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU with tip-off slated for 12 p.m. (PST) The game can also be seen on ESPN3.com and heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.

INSIDE THE LIONS
LMU concluded its longest homestand since 1995 (six games) when they defeated Idaho State for the second time on the season in overtime, this time 80-72 on Dec. 10. LMU improves to 6-4 on the season • This will be just the third road game of the season for the Lions. They are 2-0 on the road, winning its first two road games of the season for the first time since 1995-96, after the 79-76 win over Idaho State on Nov. 26 • Three Lions (active) are now averaging double figures on the season, thanks in large part to efforts of senior LaRon Armstead. Sophomore Anthony Ireland leads the Lions with 14.1 points per game, ranking second in the WCC in minutes at 34.8 per game. Junior Jarred DuBois has scored 12 points or better the last seven games and is second on the squad at 12.9 points per game. Armstead is third at 10.3 points per contest, scoring double figures in five of the last six games, including a career-best 22 points off the bench in the win over No. 23 Saint Louis • The Lions started the season with a 69-58 win over No. 17 UCLA and with the win over the Billikens, they have now beaten a ranked-opponent in consecutive chances for the first time since the 1989-90 NCAA Tournament. The Lions have won three of their last four games against ranked opponents • In the win over NAU, LMU had six players reach double-figures in scoring for the first time since defeating Seattle University, 104-89, on December 20, 2009. The Lions had 21 assists on 30 field goals, and finished the game outrebounding NAU 49-34, grabbing 21 offensive boards in the process. Rebounding was a team effort, as seven players had five or more rebounds on the game. The Lions are 4-0 when outrebounding their opponents, including a 43-32 edge in the last game against Idaho State • The Lions are one of the best in the league in turnover margin, ranking second at +2.30. They forced the Billikens into a season-high 15 turnovers for an 18-8 edge in points off turnovers. They outscored Columbia 28-8 in points off turnovers thanks to forcing a season-best 24 turnovers on a season-best 13 steals. They then forced 21 turnovers on 12 steals against La Sierra for a 26-12 edge in points off turnovers, and scored 23 points off turnovers in forcing Idaho State in into 18 on Dec. 10. The Lions are third in turnovers per game at 13.2 and second in forced turnovers at 15.3. Although early, the lowest tunover average in school history was 11.7 in 1983-84 with the second lowest coming two years ago in 2009-10 at 12.9 tpg...

YOUTH MOVEMENT
The Lions continue to rely heavily on its youth with just three seniors on the roster. Non-seniors are averaging 33 of the 40 minutes per game, with senior LaRon Armstead giving them big leadership the last five games. Here is a look at some individual notes from the Lions' young roster this season.

    • Senior LaRon Armstead came off the bench to score 22 points against Saint Louis and he has been a mainstay in the Lions' rotation since. He is averaging 13.3 points in 24 minutes the last six games, going for a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds against North Texas and then 14 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes against Idaho State. He is third on the team with 12 three-pointers, hitting at least one in each of his last six games. He has played in 85 games for the Lions in his career, scoring 505 points with 241 rebounds.
    • Redshirt junior Jarred DuBois began play with the Lions in the same 2008-09 campaign with senior LaRon Armstead. DuBois who played just five games a year ago due to foot surgery and was granted a medical redshirt, has returned as another of the Lions' floor leaders. He has returned in a big way, averaging 12.9 points per game while ranking fifth in the WCC in assists (3.6 apg), second in free throw shooting (89.5 percent), and eighth in three-point shooting (46.2 percent). He continues to climb the reecord books at LMU, entering the Florida State game with 949 career points while ranking eighth all-time with 125 career three-pointers, fifth with a career free throw percentage of 84.0 percent and 19th with 201 career assists.
    • Sophomore Anthony Ireland started the season scoring 22 or more points in four of his last five games, while averaging 21 points per game in that stretch dating back to the Lions' finale against Santa Clara last season. His 26-point effort against Harvard was a career-high. He leads the active players with 14.2 points per game, which is eighth in the WCC as of Dec. 12. He is also third in the league with 4.2 assists and fifth with 1.6 steals. He is already just 19 points from earning 500 in his career.
    • Second-year forward Godwin Okonji has become a defensive force for the Lions. He leads the team with 5.0 rebounds per game, with eight blocks and nine steals. He also averages 4.9 points per game. His 46 career blocks is ranked 21st all-time at LMU, one behind John Veargason to crack into the top-20.
    Ayodeji Egbeyemi has become another long range threat for the Lions, hitting 13-for-36 (36.1 percent) from the three-point line. He is averaging 6.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 three-pointers per game.
    • The freshman, Bruce English and C.J. Blackwell are making their mark already for the Lions. Blackwell is averaging 7.8 points in 16.6 minutes per game. He is coming off the Lions first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Idaho State. In addition, he had a 21-point performance in earning DoubleTree Los Angeles Westside Player of the Game honors against La Sierra on Dec. 3. English has seen his playing time increase as he is averaging 7.3 minutes. He had a career best six assists against La Sierra and is averaging 2.2 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. He made the most of his second appearance on the season against NAU, going for seven points on 3-for-3 shooting.
    IN THE POST: LMU's post players are hitting 55.6 percent from the field on the season. Redshirt senior Tim Diederichs leads the group at 75 percent, hitting 9-for-12. Redshirt sophomore Alex Osborne is hitting 57.9 percent (11-for-19) while sophomore Godwin Okonji has gone 17-for-30 from the field (56.7 percent). After going 5-for-6 with a career best 11 points against Idaho State, redshirt sophomore Quincy Lawson 21-for-36 (53.3 percent).

ALL-FRESHMAN
For the fifth straight season a freshman has earned a double-double, thanks to CJ Blackwell going for 13 points and 11 rebounds last Saturday. Both Anthony Ireland and Ayodeji Egbeyemi did it as freshman a year ago, while Ashley Hamilton did it in 2009-10. LaRon Armstead did it as a feshman in 2008-09. It continues a run of successful freshman at LMU. The Lions have had a member on the WCC All-Freshman team each of the last three seasons. Redshirt Jarred DuBois, who set a freshman scoring record at LMU in 2008-09 with 417 points, was the first in the `08-'09 campaign. In 2009-10, Hamilton was named All-Freshman after going for 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The latest was Ireland, who finished with 340 points as a freshman in 2010-11 to rank seventh all-time at LMU.

THE ROSTER
Junior Ashley Hamilton, who was the Lions' leading scorer after two games, played 16 minutes against Harvard, scoring eight points before he left with a injury to his right foot. He is likely out through the end of December... Two-time All-WCC selection and two-time leading scorer Drew Viney had the start of his redshirt senior season delayed due to surgery on his left foot. He injured the foot right before the official start of practice in mid-October. He played two of the three games at the DoubleTree LA Westside Centennial Classic and did not play against Idaho State due to soreness in his foot. He is not scheduled to make the trip to Florida State and Morgan State... Edgar Garibay did not play against Northern Arizona due to a concussion suffered in practice and missed the game agasinst Saint Louis. He is back into the line-up.

GAME #11
LMU will head to Florida State for the first time in school history to take on an opponent from the ACC for the first time since traveling to Virginia on Dec. 23, 2004 (L, 79-77 OT). In traveling to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles, the Lions will face one of the nation's best defenses in the process. The Seminoles are ranked (as of Dec. 13) fifth in field goal percentage defense (34.1 percent), seventh in blocked shots (6.9 bpg), 11th in three-point field goal percentage defense (24.8 percent), 27th in points allowed (57.5 ppg) and 28th in steals (9.2 spg). The Seminoles are 7-3 on the season, winning their last two after falling in three straight to Harvard (46-41) and UConn (78-76 ot) in netural games and then at Michigan State (65-49). They are 6-0 at home and are led in scoring by Michael Snaer with 13.3 ppg. He is the only Seminole in double figures, however, five others average 7.8 or better, including Bernard James with 9.9 points per game. He also averages 8.9 rebounds and 2.5 rebounds per contest.

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