Dec. 28, 2012
The Last Meeting
November 17, 2012
Ireland Leads Lions to Road Win
Junior Godwin Okonji grabbed an offensive rebound and muscled in a outback with 24 seconds remaining to give the Lions a two-point lead that would push them to a 76-73 win over CSU Bakersfield at the Icardo Center Saturday night.
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LOS ANGELES -- The 2012 calendar year will come to a close for LMU men's basketball (6-6) with one final non-conference match-up before the West Coast Conference begins action to start 2013. The Lions end a two-game homestand at Gersten Pavilion with the return showdown against CSU Bakersfield (5-9), Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed on Lions' All-Access through LMULions.com and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
INSIDE THE GAME
LMU will close non-conference and the 2012 calendar year with a return match-up with CSU Bakersfield. The two met on Nov. 17 in Bakersfield with the Lions holding on for a 76-73 victory. This will be the fifth time the teams will meet with Max Good coaching the Lions and the ninth overall. The Lions have won four straight and lead the series 8-1. The match-up completes a home-and-home series in the same season, matching what the teams did in the 2009-10 campaign. The Lions won 84-71 at home Dec. 19, 2009 and then 81-73 at Bakersfield on Jan. 3, 2010. CSUB enters the game at 5-9 overall having last played in the Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, falling to North Florida (80-70) and then defeating Mississippi Valley (69-64). They will have a quick turnaround after facing the Lions, hosting North Carolina A&T Sunday at 4 p.m. Stephon Carter, who had 22 against the Lions in the first meeting, leads the Roadrunners with 15.8 ppg and sits second on the team with 5.1 rpg.
LAST TIME AGAINST CSUB
Junior Godwin Okonji grabbed an offensive rebound and muscled in a putback with 24 seconds remaining to give the Lions a two-point lead that would push them to the win at the Icardo Center. While Okonji put in the game winner, it was junior Anthony Ireland that led the charge. The point guard finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Sophomore Chase Flint added 12 points while Ashley Hamilton and freshman Nick Stover added 10 each. The Lions led by 16 early but turnovers dominated the first half as LMU had 11 of their 16 and CSUB and 10 of their 13 in the first frame. And the turnovers led to points and a Roadrunner comeback when they took a 49-48 lead on a three-pointer by Brandon Barnes. The three-pointer played a big role in the swings in the game as the team's combined for 10 each, with LMU going 10-for-17 (58.8 percent) and CSUB hitting 10-for-24 (41.7 percent). The lead would go back and forth, and CSUB would tie the game one last time as Zach Lamb hit a jumper in the key to make it 73-73 with :56 to play, setting Okonji's outback. The Lions forced a bad shot and Hamilton hit one of two free throws for the three-point lead with two seconds left. He missed the second and Flint would earn a steal before CSUB could get the ball down the floor.
INSIDE THE LIONS
The Lions are 6-6 on the season after defeating Morgan State, 79-62, Thursday at Gersten Pavilion. Junior Anthony Ireland continues to shine with 27 points against the Bears, which pushes his league leading average to 20.8 ppg. He also ranks 10th in rebounds at 6.0 rpg, tied for seventh with 4.3 apg, sixth in steals with 1.6 spg and second in minutes played at 36.0. In the win over Texas State, he scored his 1,000th career point and he is now 24th all-time with 1,138 points. He needs eight points to move to 21st.
Senior Ashley Hamilton is having his best season as a Lion, scoring 20 points with seven rebounds against Morgan State and his season also includes a career-best 24 points against Northern Arizona. He is averaging 14.8 ppg and 7.7 rpg. He is eighth in the WCC in scoring and fifth in rebounds. He is also third in the WCC in offensive rebounds and fifth in defensive rebounds. His seven boards against Morgan State gave him 503 rebounds in his career, the 25th Lion to crack 500 rebounds for a career. He is ranked 23rd all-time at LMU.
Redshirt junior Alex Osborne has started the last three 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 just under 10 points and seven rebounds in the three 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 17th in the league in rebounding at 4.8 rpg and 15th in steals at 1.2 spg.
The Lions have showed strength on the glass, and used a +23 edge against Morgan State to earn the win. They are ranked third in the WCC with a +7.2 rebound margin. In addition to the 56-33 edge against the Bears, the Lions out rebounded Texas State 48-32 and Portland State 41-27. The Lions lead the league with 41.0 rebounds per game, including a league best 13.9 offensive rebounds per game, grabbing a season-high 22 against Morgan St. In that win, the Lions' three starting guards of Ireland (6 rebounds), Egbeyemi (10 rebounds) and Flint (10 rebounds) combined for 26 of the Lions 56 rebounds.
Junior Ayodeji Egbeyemi is off to his best season, sitting third on the team with 11.3 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game, ranking 18th and ninth 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 had 10 rebounds against Morgan State.
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 against NAU. The Lions entered the week third in the league with 7.0 three-pointers per game and are hitting 37.0 percent as a team, fourth in the WCC. Hamilton leads the team at 42.9 percent to rank eighth in the WCC, while Ireland is hitting 40.8 percent and Egbeyemi at 39.6, ranked 11th and 15th, respectively.
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 33.1 mpg and is averaging 6.9 points per game, fourth on the Lions' roster. He is ranked second in the WCC with an assists to turnover ratio of 3.1, dishing out 52 assists with just 17 turnovers. He is tied with teammate Anthony Ireland with 52 assists, going for three against Morgan St. He is also 13th in the WCC in defensive rebounds with 45, grabbing 4.7 overall rebounds per game. He had a career-best 10 against Morgan State Thursday.
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.
- GO LIONS -