Dec. 20, 2011
LMU men's basketball will conclude its holiday road swing of the east coast when they take on Morgan State on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 4 p.m. (PST) It is the Lions final non-conference road game of the season for the Lions, who have just two home games remaining before the start of West Coast Conference play. The game against the Bears from Hill Field House in Baltimore, Md., will be broadcast on KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE LIONS
LMU opened its two-game road swing along the east coast with a 77-61 setback to Florida State on Dec. 18. The game against Morgan State is the first-ever for the program in the state of Maryland. LMU sits at 6-5 on the season with a pair of games left before the start of WCC play on Dec. 31 at San Francisco This will be just the fourth road game of the season for the Lions. They are 2-1 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 and a 69-58 win over then No. 17 UCLA to start the year on Nov. 11 Three Lions (active) are now averaging double figures on the season, including East Coast native (Waterbury CT), sophomore Anthony Ireland. He leads the Lions with 14.5 points per game, scoring a game-high 19 against Florida State to give him 500 already in his young career. Junior Jarred DuBois is second on the squad at 11.7 points per game while LaRon Armstead is third at 10.3 points per contest, scoring double figures in six of the last seven games, including a career-best 22 points off the bench in the win over No. 23 Saint Louis. Freshman CJ Blackwell has moved his averages on the season to 8.4 ppg and 4.1 rpg. He has scored in double figures in three of the last four games, and has led the Lions in rebounding the last two games, including the first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Idaho State on Dec. 10 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 The Lions are ranked second in the WCC in free throw percentage, hitting 71.1 percent as a squad through 11 games. The Lions' top-six scorers all hit better than 71 percent and senior LaRon Armstead ranks third in the league at 85.7 percent, hitting 30-of-35 on the season The Lions enter Wednesday's game ranked tops in the WCC with a +2.0 turnover margin. The Lions are tops in the league by forcing 15.5 turnovers per game while sitting third in the league in committing just 13.5 turnovers per contest. 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 continue to rely heavily on its youth with just three seniors on the roster. Non-seniors have played 88 percent of the Lions' minutes this season, with senior LaRon Armstead 170 of the 278 minutes the seniors have played on the season. 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 13.2 points in 26 minutes the last seven 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 13 three-pointers, hitting at least one in each of his last seven games. He has played in 86 games for the Lions in his career, scoring 516 points with 243 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 11.7 points per game while ranking 11th in the WCC in assists (3.2 apg) and 10th in three-point shooting (41.4 percent). He continues to climb the record books at LMU, entering the Florida State game with 951 career points while ranking eighth all-time with 125 career three-pointers, fifth with a career free throw percentage of 84.0 percent and 18th with 204 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 14.5 points per game, which is sixth in the WCC as of Dec. 19. He is also third in the league with 4.2 assists and sixth with 1.5 steals. With 19 points against Florida State last Sunday, he sits at exactly 500 just 43 games into his career.
Ayodeji Egbeyemi has become another long range threat for the Lions, hitting 15-for-41 (36.6 percent) from the three-point line. He is averaging 6.5 points, a team-best 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 three-pointers per game. He, along with Ireland and redshirt sophomore Quincy Lawson, are the only three players to play in every game this season.
The freshman, Bruce English and C.J. Blackwell are making their mark already for the Lions. Blackwell is averaging 8.4 points in 17.5 minutes per game. He is coming off the Lions first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Idaho State on Dec. 10 and then a 14-point, seven-rebound performance at Florida 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 8.0 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: Heading into the Lions two-game road swing, 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).
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 freshman 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.
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 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 did not 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 against Saint Louis. He is back into the line-up.
The Lions will head into Baltimore, Md., to face Morgan State for the third time in program history. It completes a home-and-home series with the Bears, who defeated the Lions 81-79 to start the season a year ago at Gersten Pavilion. The other meeting came in 1991 when the Lions opened the season hosting the L.A. City Classic, earning a 140-110 win. This is the first time the Lions will play in the state of Maryland and the fifth time they face a school from the state, the third against Morgan State and twice against Loyola of Maryland. The Bears enter the game with a misleading 1-7 record. This will be just the second home game of the season for the Bears, who fell to undefeated (12-0) and 22nd ranked Murray State on Nov. 14 in their only home game. They opened the season with a 74-63 setback at No. 14 Xavier, and following Murray State, the Bears fell to No. 22 UNLV (92-55) and USC (65-62) in road games. They also fell to Cal Poly and Tennessee State in neutral game in Las Vegas. They fell at Ohio on Dec. 3, 61-53, before picking up their first win, at Maryland Baltimore County, 73-60, on Dec. 14. Kevin Thompson leads three Bears in double figures with 15.3 points while also leading the team with 8.5 rebounds per game. He had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the win at Gersten Pavilion a year ago, while DeWayne Jackson, who is second on the team with 10.5 points after eight games this season, went for a career-high 31 against the Lions, hitting 7-for-11 from the three-point line.
The Lions will return home for one final tune-up before WCC play when they host Vanguard on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 6 p.m. The game at Gersten Pavilion is part of the Lions' Holiday Thank You to fans and is FREE to all fans. No tickets, no RSVP, nothing is needed to come watch the Lions play this holiday season. Season ticket holders will be guaranteed their seat, and Sodexo is offering $1 hotdogs during the game. For more information on this Holiday Thank You, call the LMU ticket office at (310) 338-LION.
- GO LIONS -