Hectic End to Year Starts with Family Day

Steven Haney, Jr.
Dec. 16, 2016

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LOS ANGELES - LMU men's basketball enters the final two weeks of the 2016 calendar year having played the fewest games in the conference. That will all change heading into the start of conference play. The Lions will play four games in the next 10 days, starting with the University of Incarnate Word on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 4 pm. The game is part of the Alumni Family Day at the Game, which includes a family tailgate and a doubleheader with the women, who play UC Riverside at 1 pm. Watch the Lions play the Cardinal on TheW.tv and listen live on KXLU 88.9 FM.

Date | Time: Saturday, Dec. 17 | 4 pm (PT)
Where: Gersten Pavilion | Los Angeles, CA
GAME PREVIEW: LMU Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | UIW Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Live Broadcast: TheW.TV
RADIO: KXLU 88.9 FM | Listien Online
Live Stats: StatBroadcast | GameTracker


• With just four games in the first month of the season, the Lions have picked up the pace in December and it will end with six games in the final two weeks of the year, including the start of WCC play. The Lions have won back-to-back games for the first time on the season and are 4-3 after defeating Southern Utah on Dec. 8, 75-68, and then CSUN on the road, 69-68, on Dec. 10. The Lions had a week off with finals and enter the weekend ranked second in the WCC in three-point field goal percentage defense (27.2 percent), which is also ranked 11th within the NCAA as of Dec. 15. They are also second in the league in assists per game at 17.7 while leading the conference in steals at 7.6 per game. They are ranked 21st within the NCAA in assists per game, 51st in field goal percentage (48.1) and 71st in steals per game.

• UIW enters the match-up at 5-4 overall, suffering a 92-64 setback at UNLV on Dec. 14. They are 5-1 at home in San Antonio, Texas, while going 0-3 on the road. In addition to UNLV, they have fallen to Texas and Texas Tech. They have wins over St. Edward's, Howard Payne, LIU Brooklyn, Texas Lutheran and Texas A&M Internatio. Their one setback at home came to Rice. They are led by Shawn Johnson at 17.6 ppg and 8.7 rpg. UIW made the move to NCAA Division I in 2013 and are a member of the Southland Conference. They will eligible for postseason play in 2018. They did play in the CIT in 2015, falling to Louisiana-Lafayette, 68-63. They finished the season 18-11 overall in 2014-15 and 10-8 in the Southland Conference, while going 17-12 overall and 12-6 in conference a year ago.

• This will be the first meeting between the two programs.


• The Lions are 4-3 on the season as they enter the final two weeks of 2016. They are coming off back-to-back wins. In the 75-68 win over Southern Utah, Brandon Brown went for a career-best 26 points on 8-for-13 shooting. In the 69-68 win over CSUN, Stefan Jovanovic scored with nine seconds remaining to lift the Lions to the road victory. He finished with a career-high 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Sophomore Trevor Manuel, a mid-year transfer from Oregon at the end of fall semester in 2015, will be eligible to play starting this weekend.

• Brown and Jovanovic are two of five seniors pacing the Lions this season. Of the top-six scorers, five are the seniors. Within the WCC, Brown is 13th with 13.7 ppg and eighth with 4.6 apg. Fellow senior Buay Tuach has been a stat-stuffer so far this season. He is ranked 23rd in points at 11.6 per game while ranking 14th in shooting (50.0%), 10th in assists (3.4 apg), third in steals (1.7 spg), and 8th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8). Senior Shamar Johnson continues to be a part of the Lions' tough play in the paint. He leads the Lions in rebounds at 5.4, while ranking in the top-15 in rebounds and shooting (50.0) percentage within the WCC. Senior transfer Kelvin Amayo is making the most of his approved sixth-year averaging 7.4 points with 4.9 rebounds and 2.14 assists. His second on the team in rebounding.

• As of Dec. 15, the Lions are second in the WCC and 11th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense, holding teams to 27.2 percent. 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 include 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, but went just 2-for-6 in the second half. In the last outing, CSUN hit 5-for-15 for the game, going just 2-for-7 in the second half. The Lions' defense has been tough in the second half. The Lions are holding opponents to just 16-for-74 from three, 21.6 percent in the second frame.

• LMU is 21st nationally in assists per game, dishing out 17.7 per game through seven games. They have four players with an average of two or better on the season, led by the senior Brown at 4.57. Buay Tuach, who has 24 assists all of last year in his first season at LMU, has 24 in just seven games and is among the WCC leaders with 3.43 per game. Shamar Johnson is third on the team with 18 assists, and Kelvin Amayo has 15. 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 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. The Lions went over 50 percent for the fourth time on the season with a 53.6 percent effort in the win over CSUN. It is the first time the Lions have posted back-to-back games over 50 percent since December of 2009. LMU shot 50 percent or better just twice all of last year. Senior Stefan Jovanovic, who led the Lions with a career-best 16 points in the win over CSUN, finished the game hitting 7-for-9 from the field. He is ninth in the WCC on the season hitting 55.3 percent. Senior Shamar Johnson, who led the Lions against Boise State with 14 points and seven rebounds, is tied for 14th in the WCC shooting 50 percent. Fellow senior Buay Tuach is also 14th at 50.0 percent.

• The Lions post play has been key early this season, scoring 250 points in the paint in the first seven games, including setting a season best twice last season. They had a then season's best 44 points against Boise State on Dec. 5 and then exploded for a 50-33 edge in the win over CSUN on Dec. 10. They held a 44-36 edge over Boise State, a 42-28 edge at Nevada and a 36-32 edge against PSU.


• Saturday's 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. The tailgate will continue in between games at 2:30, with tip-off between the Lions and Cardinal at 4 pm. For special ticket prices, click on the Alumni Game banner on LMULions.com.

• Following the Alumni Day at the Game on Dec. 17, the Lions will host four games over the two-week 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.

6th ANNUAL HOLIDAY CLASSIC: LMU will host the 2016 LMU Holiday Classic on Monday, Dec. 26 against Morgan State at 5 pm. This special Christmas addition of the annual classic will feature free admission and $1 hot dogs. Bring the entire family for this special game.

• YEAR-END CELEBRATION: $50 lower level/$40 upper level - LMU will begin play within the West Coast Conference with two of the best. Help the Lions close-out the 2016 calendar year and begin the WCC season in grand style with this special two game package to watch the Lions take on Saint Mary's on Thursday, Dec. 29 and then BYU on Friday, Dec. 31. Get one upper level ticket to each game for just $40 and lower level package is just $50. CLICK HERE FOR YEAR-END PACK.

• FAMILY NEW YEAR PACK: $80 - 4 ticket/4 hot dogs - Close out 2016 on the right foot by bringing the family to the WCC Showdown between the Lions and BYU. This special family package is for 4 upper level tickets and 4 free hot dog coupons for when the Lions take on BYU on Saturday, Dec. 31. End 2016 right with Lion basketball. CLICK HERE FOR FAMILY PACK.


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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