Lions Host Morgan State For Holiday Classic
Men's basketball returns home to face Bears in first of two non-conference games to close 2012.
Dec. 26, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- LMU men's basketball (5-6) will host its second annual LMU Holiday Classic on Thursday, Dec. 27 when they face Morgan State (3-5) at Gersten Pavilion for a 7 p.m., tip-off. The game is free to all and will feature $1 hotdogs thanks to TeamLMU partner Sodexo. The Classic started a year ago with the Lions hosting its first game following Christmas. The game will be streamed on Lions' All-Access through LMULions.com and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
|GAME:||LMU (5-6) vs. Morgan State (3-5)|
|DATE/TIME:||Dec. 27, 2012 // 7:00 p.m. (PST)|
|LOCATION:||Gersten Pavilion (4,126) // Los Angeles, CA|
|RADIO:||KXLU 88.9 FM (Jesse Kass)|
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INSIDE THE GAME
LMU will be playing its first of two home games in three days to close out non-conference play before the WCC starts the first of the year. This will be the third staight meeting between LMU and Morgan State, with the Bears making their second trip to Los Angeles since 2010. The Bears have won the last two meetings, winning 81-79 on Nov. 12, 2010 at Gersten Pavilion and then last year in the game before Christmas on Dec. 21, 2011 in Baltimore, 69-45. Morgan State will be playing their first game since Dec. 19 when they fell at Virginia, 75-57, and at 3-5 on the season, they have yet to play a home game. This will be just the fifth home game of the season for the Lions, tied with Pepperdine for the fewest among the nine schools in the West Coast Conference. The game will feature a pair of solid rebounding teams as Morgan State enters with a +1.8 rebound margin while the Lions are +5.7. The Bears get it done on the inside, hitting just 27-for-107 (25.2 percent from long range) but shoot better than 45 percent from the field as a team. DeWayne Jackson leads the team in scoring at 14.9 ppg, hitting 10 of the teams long range shots. Anthony Hubbard is second with 13.9 ppg and is the teams top rebounder at 7.5 rpg.
GAMEDAY AT LMU
The Lions will host Morgan State in the second LMU Holiday Classic on Thursday, Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. The game is FREE TO ALL, and Sodexo will once again be offering $1 hotdogs during the game. The Lions will then finish non-conference play in 2012 with the return match-up with CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. In addition, the Lions PCH Cup showdown at Gersten Pavilion against Pepperdine on Jan. 24 has been moved up to 6 p.m. and will be aired on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
INSIDE THE LIONS
The Lions are 5-6 on the season after falling at Saint Louis on Dec. 22. Junior Anthony Ireland continues to shine, leading the WCC in scoring at 20.3 ppg, ranking ninth in rebound at 6.0 rpg, tied for seventh with 4.45 apg, fourth in steals with 1.73 spg and second in minutes played at 35.8. In the win over Texas State, he scored his 1,000th career point and he is now 25th all-time with 1,111 points.
Senior Ashley Hamilton is having his best season as a Lion, averaging 14.4 ppg and 7.7 rpg, including a career-best 24 points against Northern Arizona. Hamilton had his first game without double figures at Saint Louis but still managed eight rebounds to sit fourth in the WCC at 7.7 rpg. He is second in the WCC in offensive rebounds and fifth in defensive rebounds. He is also 12th in scoring and is second in three-point shooting at 48.0 percent (12-for-25).
Redshirt junior Alex Osborne has started the last two games at center in the place of Godwin Okonji, who had emergency Laparoscopic Appendectomy on the evening Dec. 12. Osborne has responded in a big way, averaging 10.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two starts. He had nine points and a career-best 10 rebounds against Ole Miss and then followed that with 11 points and five rebounds at Saint Louis. He is 16th in the league in rebounding at 4.8 rpg.
The Lions have showed strength on the glass, ranking third in the WCC wiht a +5.7 rebound margin. The Lions out rebounded Texas State 48-32 and Portland State 41-27. The Lions entered the week second in the league in pulling down 39.6 rebounds per game, including a league best 13.2 offensive rebounds per game.
Junior Ayodeji Egbeyemi is off to his best season, sitting third on the team with 11.5 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game, ranking 18th and 10th in the WCC, respectively. He had his second career double-double on Nov. 29 with 16 points and 11 rebounds against LBSU and is coming off a 14-point game against Ole Miss, hitting 5-for-6 from the field. He is shooting 40.8 percent from long range, which is ranked 13th in the WCC.
More from long range: The Lions hit 13-for-25 (52%) from three on Nov. 29 against LBSU and then upped that by one with a 14-for-25 (56%) effort agaisnt NAU. The Lions entered the week are third in the league with 7.1 three-pointers per game and are hitting 37.3 percent as a team, fourth in the WCC. They are coming off a season worst 2-for-14 performance from long range at Saint Louis (14.3 percent). Hamilton leads the team at 48.0 percent (12-for-25) to rank second in the WCC. Ireland is hitting 40.5 percent (17-for-42) while Egbeyemi is hitting 43.5 percent (20-for-49).
Making an impact in his first season at LMU is sophomore transfer Chase Flint, who is doing a little of everything for the Lions. Flint is fifth in the WCC in minutes played at 33.3 mpg and is averaging 7.3 points per game, fourth on the Lions' roster. He is ranked second in the WCC with an assists to turnover ratio of 2.88, dishing out 49 assists with just 17 turnovers. He is tied with teammate Anthony Ireland with 49 assists, going for five at Saint Louis. He is also 15th in the WCC in defensive rebounds with 38, grabbing 4.2 overall rebounds per game.
The 2012-13 season is a combination of experience and the unknown as the Lions returned eight letterwinners, including three starters, from last year's team that had the best season since the Elite Eight campaign at 21-13 overall and 11-5 (4th) in the WCC. With the experience, however, there is plenty of youth. The 15-man roster has just 15 years of NCAA Division-I basketball experience - one of the youngest rosters in the country.
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