Busy Start to WCC Continues Monday
Men's basketball continues stretch of four conference games in eight days when they host San Diego on Monday.
Dec. 29, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- LMU men's basketball will continue their grueling start to conference play - playing four games in eight days - when they conclude a four-game homestand against San Diego on Monday, Dec. 30 at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions (9-4, 1-0) improved to 4-0 at home on the season with an 87-76 win over BYU Saturday while the Toreros (9-5, 0-1) fell at Pepperdine, 75-64. Game time is set for 7 pm, and the game can be seen on LMU Sports Network and heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
With the extended West Conference, league play is longer than ever and has stretched into the holidays. And with it, most of the league will play four conference games in a week. That is the case for the Lions as they continue their conference opening stretch with the Toreros. The Lions opened with an 11-point win over BYU on Saturday, while the Toreros fell at Pepperdine. The last time the two met, San Diego scored in the final second of overtime to steal the win. The game features a contrast in one of the top defenses (San Diego No. 1 in WCC allowing just 61.8 ppg) against one of the top defenses (LMU is 5th in scoring offense at 80.4 ppg). Fans who live in neighboring zip codes to LMU can get tickets for just $5 by visiting LMULions.com/tickets and entering promo code WCCOPENER. In addition, those affiliated with the Catholic Youth Organizations (C.Y.O.) can get two free tickets plus additional tickets for $5. Enter the promo code provided to the CYO for the discounts. The game is part of LMU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's second annual Hoodie Drive. S.A.A.C. and LMU Athletics will collect hoodies, sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets at all home games from Dec. 1 through Jan. 17 as part of the annual Hoodie Drive. All collected items will be donated to the Midnight Mission in Downtown Los Angeles.
INSIDE THE LIONS
Freshman Evan Payne led the Lions with 27 points against BYU, posting his second straight career-high (24 points against La Sierra). Saturday's point total is tied for the fourth best point total by a freshman in LMU History. It is also the most ever by an LMU freshman in his first WCC game and the third-most by an LMU player in his conference debut.
Senior Anthony Ireland continues to pace the Lions in all areas of the floor. Against BYU, he finished with 14 points, nine assists, five rebound and three steals. He had his 37th 20-point game against La Sierra while also going for 23.0 points per contest at the Paradise Jam to earn All-Tournament honors. His start against BYU was the 106th of his career, making him just the fourth player in LMU history to reach the century mark (joining Mark Armstrong - 109, Mike Yoest - 103, and Jim Williamson - 101). With 244 points, 72 assists and 22 steals to start the season, Ireland moved ahead of Jim Haderlein for seventh all-time in LMU history with 1,820 career points. He also moved to fourth with 456 career assists and seventh with 169 career steals.
Freshman Gabe Levin went for his fourth double-double in his young career with 14 points and 14 rebounds at Pittsburgh and is one of just five freshman to have multiple double-doubles in their debut season, and his four so far this season is now tied for the most in program history (Kevin Young - 4 - `08-09; Orlando Johnson - 3 - `07-08; Andy Osborn - 3 - `01-02; Luther Philyaw - 2 - `72-73). He has grabbed 14 rebounds in a single game three times already this season while also scoring double figures in all 11 games, going for 12 points and seven rebounds on Saturday in returning to the line-up after missing the last two games with an injured shoulder. Heading into Monday, Levin is second in the WCC in rebounding and is ranked 55th in the nation in rebounds per game (8.8 rpg), and 5th for freshman in rebounds per contest.
Four Lions average double figures, led by senior Anthony Ireland at 18.8 ppg, ranking second in the WCC as of Dec. 29. The next three in double figures are all new to the Lions' line-up. Freshmen Evan Payne had his 27 against BYU and is 11th in the WCC and second on the team with 15.1 ppg. Fellow freshman Gabe Levin has scored double figures in his first 11 games as a Lion, the most by a freshman in LMU history and is third on the team at 12.6 ppg. Sophomore transfer Ben Dickinson ranks fourth at 10.2 ppg. Through 13 games, the Lions are averaging 80.4 points per game (fifth in the WCC). The last time the Lions averaged over 75 points a game in a season was in 2009-10 at 75.8 ppg. They averaged 75.9 in 1998-99, 79.0 in 1993-94, and 91.1 in 1991-92. The all-time record is 122.4 ppg in that 1989-90 Elite Eight season.
The Lions have had more turnovers than their opponents just once in 13 games this season, turning the ball over just seven times on Saturday against the Cougars. They are averaging 12.46 turnovers per game this season. The Lions have averaged under 13 turnovers a game just twice in program history. They averaged just 12.97 in 2009-10 and set the record in 1983-84 at 11.98 per game. The Lions are third in the WCC in turnover margin at +1.69.
The Lions hit 77.8 percent from the free throw line against the Cougars on Saturday, the 10th time they have hit better than 71 percent in a game this season. They are second in the WCC overall hitting 76.5 percent on the season. As of Dec. 22 the Lions ranked 11th in the nation. Since returning home the last three games, the Lions are hitting 82.8 percent from the charity stripe (63-for-76). Anthony Ireland and Evan Payne rank 8th and 9th, respectively, in free throw shooting at 84.7 and 84.6 percent.
The Lions had a season-high 20 offensive rebounds good for 23 second chance points in the win over UC Riverside. They equalled that total with 20 against La Sierra, going for a season-high 25 second chance points. The Lions have had double-digit offensive rebounds in all 13 games to start the season and lead the West Coast Conference with 14.7 per game after grabbing 19 at Valparaiso and 16 against Pittsburgh. The Lions grabbed 17 offensive rebounds to cut a 23-point deficit to five against NIU, and against Long Beach State the Lions had 19 offensive boards and held a 45-30 edge on the glass. They used five of their 19 offensive rebounds in the final minute to get the win at LBSU. Freshman Gabe Levin leads the WCC with 3.5 offensive rebounds per game.