Game of the Week Comes to Gersten
Lions' wrap-up home stand with WCC Game of the Week match-up against BYU Saturday at 1 pm.
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LOS ANGELES - The four-game homestand for the holidays comes to a close on the final day of the year as the WCC Game of the Week comes to Gersten Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 31. LMU men's basketball (7-5, 0-1) will host BYU (10-4, 1-0) at 1 pm to wrap-up the opening weekend to West Coast Conference action. Coverage begins with the weekly pregame show, WCC This Week presented by GEICO live from Gersten Pavilion, at 12:30 p.m. The game then can be seen on Spectrum SportsNet, CSN Bay Area, ROOT Northwest, ROOT Rocky Mountain, and online through TheW.tv (out-of-region). The game can also be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM.
|Date | Time:||Saturday, Dec. 31 | 1 pm (PT)|
|Where:||Gersten Pavilion | Los Angeles, CA|
|GAME PREVIEW:||LMU Game Notes | BYU Game Notes|
|The Match-up:||LMU: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
BYU: ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
|Live Broadcast:||Spectrum SportsNet, CSN Bay Area, ROOT Northwest, ROOT Rocky Mountain | TheW.tv (out-of-region)|
|RADIO:||KXLU 88.9 FM | Listien Online|
|Live Stats:||StatBroadcast | GameTracker|
|GameDay Info:||GAMEDAY CENTRAL | BUY TICKETS | COMING TO LMU|
THE MATCH-UP The senior led Lions finished non-conference play with a 70-49 win over Morgan State on Monday, and then opened WCC play with a 72-60 setback to No. 19 Saint Mary's Thursday. They are 7-5 on the season and 0-1 in the WCC. The last two results were a departure for what the rest of December has looked like as the cardiac Lions earned one-point decisions in three of their last six match-ups of non-conference, with six of their last nine games decided on the last possession of the game (record of 3-3). The Lions are 4-3 in games decided by less than 10 points, going 2-1 in one-point games and 1-2 in three-point games. The Lions were led down the stretch of non-conference by the one-two punch of Brandon Brown and Stefan Jovanovic. The two seniors lead the Lions at 15.0 and 11.1 points per game, respectively. Brown adds 5.17 assists per game and a 40.7 percent shooting mark from three while Jovanovic adds 5.3 rebounds per game and a 64.0 percent shooting clip from the field. Brown had the Lions first double-double on Dec. 22 with 22 points and 11 assists and then fellow senior Buay Tuach had their second straight on Monday with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The trip to Los Angeles will be the first true road game for BYU, who opened conference play with an 89-59 win over Santa Clara in Provo, Utah, Thursday. The Cougars are 8-1 at home and 2-3 in neutral games. They have won three straight, ending non-conference at home with wins over Idaho State and CSU Bakersfield. Other wins include season-opener over Princeton and at home over Colorado. They have fallen at home to Utah Valley, while dropping neutral games to Valparaiso, USC and Illinois. Once again offense is the calling card of the Cougars, ranking second in the WCC at 84.6 ppg. They are seventh in scoring defense at 72.8. Three Cougars are in double figures with Eric Mika shooting 55.6 percent from the field to average 20.4 ppg while chipping in 8.9 rpg. Nick Emery averages 15.4 ppg, leading the team with 34 three-pointers (37 percent).
This will be the 15th meeting between the two programs. The Cougars have won six straight in the series, winning the last two at Gersten Pavilion. They met just a week apart last year with BYU winning 91-80 at Gersten Pavilion on Jan. 21 and then 87-62 in Provo on Jan. 28.
FAMILY NEW YEAR PACK: 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 just $80 when the Lions take on BYU on Saturday, Dec. 31. End 2016 right with Lion basketball. CLICK HERE FOR FAMILY PACK.
INSIDE THE LIONS The Lions are 7-5, 0-1 on the season as they conclude their four-game homestand for the holidays. The Lions have won five of their last seven games and had a season-best four-game winning streak snapped on Dec. 22, falling to UT Arlington 80-77. The three-point decision continues the Cardiac Lions' trend of close games this season. How close? Removing the season opener and the last non-conference match-up, the score in the other nine games of non-conference was 664 to 658. In addition to the three-point setback to UTA on Dec. 22, the Lions had the game-tying three-pointer off the mark in a three-point setback to UCONN on Nov. 17, and then the game-winner just miss in an 80-79 setback to Boise State on Dec. 5. Then the last three games were even better. Stefan Jovanovic's put-back with nine seconds to play on Dec. 10 defeated CSUN 69-68. Trevor Manuel played his first game as a Lion against UIW, hitting two free throws with two seconds left to send it to overtime on Dec. 17. Brandon Brown and Buay Tuach then scored all 11 of the Lions' points in overtime for the win. On Dec. 19, the Lions erased a 10-point deficit with nine minutes to play to set-up Brown's game winner on the road at Colorado State.
The Lions use their entire roster with the nine players used against No. 19 Saint Mary's the fewest in any game this season, as they have used at least 10 in every game. The Lions used their sixth starting line-up on Thursday with freshman Erik Johansson getting his first start. Shamar Johnson did not play for the second straight game due to injury and will be a game time decision for Saturday against BYU. Coming off the bench to lead the Lions against the Gaels was sophomore Trevor Manuel. Playing in just his fifth game since redshirting the last year, he scored a career-high 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 from three, in just 22 minutes. Manuel is the seventh different Lion to lead the team in scoring this season. Six different Lions have led them in rebounding, including Buay Tuach leading the Lions the last two games, including his first double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds against Morgan State to end non-conference.
Brown and Jovanovic are two of five seniors pacing the Lions this season and they both have been hot of late. Brown has had 20 points or better in four of the last seven games. He leads the team with 15.0 ppg and 5.2 apg after going for team's first double-double on Dec. 22, scoring 22 points with 11 assists. Within the WCC, Brown is 11th in scoring and 6th in assists. He is also 15th in three-pointers per game (1.8) and 5th in assist-to-turnover ratio. Jovanovic scored in double figures the last seven non-conference games, including a pair of career-highs in the process. He is ranks 23rd in scoring and 2nd in shooting at 64.0 percent, including a 7-for-9 effort Monday. In the last seven games heading into WCC play he was 45-for-61 from the field, good for 73.7 percent. He went 3-for-6 Thursday. He is also ranked 4th in offensive rebounds at 2.6 and 8th in blocks at 1.0 per game.
Fellow senior Buay Tuach had the Lions second straight double-double with 13 points and career-best 10 rebounds on Monday. He is is 27th in the league scoring 11.4 ppg. Tuach is also ranked 13th in assists at 3.1 per game, 4th in steals at 1.5 spg, and 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). Senior Shamar Johnson averages 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He ranks 11th within the WCC in offensive rebounds at 1.9. The fifth senior on the roster, Kelvin Amayo, is averaging 6.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.9 apg and 0.9 spg.
For the first time in the month the Lions were outscored in the paint. Saint Mary's outscored the Lions 34-18 in the paint. In the post, the Lions are outscoring opponents 404 to 301 in points in the paint the first 12 games. The best of the season came in a 54-14 edge in points in the paint against UIW. It is the widest margin on record in last 20 years. In the win over the Rams on Dec. 19. They are 7-2 when scoring more points in the paint than their opponent.
Another key in the Lions' seven wins has been the glass. Against CSU, LMU had a 15-4 edge in second chance points thanks to a plus-9 rebounding edge over the Rams. They held a +5 edge against the Bears Monday and improved to 6-0 on the season when they out-rebound their opponent. Saint Mary's out-rebounded the Lions 38-26 on Thursday. Against UIW, LMU held a 43-30 edge on the glass and held a 21-7 advantage in second chance points. They are 6-0 when holding an edge in second chance points.
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. It is the first time the Lions have posted back-to-back games over 50 percent since December of 2009. They hit 62.1 percent in the second half to erase a 10-point deficit. On Dec. 19, they hit 50 percent in the second half against CSU to erase another 10-point deficit, hitting 13-for-26. They nearly did it again against UTA, hitting 55.6 percent in the second half and had a chance at the tie after tailing by nine with just over six minutes to play. The Lions went over 50 percent for the fourth time on the season with a 53.6 percent effort in the win over CSUN. LMU shot 50 percent or better just twice all of last year.
More rankings... the Lions are 2nd in the WCC in steals at 7.3 per game. Tuach is 4th in the league with 1.5 per game while sophomore Jeffery McClendon is tied for 11th at 1.0... They rank 2nd in turnover margin at +1.5, forcing a league-high 15.2 per game... LMU is 2nd in offensive rebound at 12.5 per game and are 2nd in the league with an offensive rebound percentage of 35%.
UPNEXTThe Lions will head to the road in West Coast Conference action, but they won't have to go far. Following the game with BYU, the Lions will travel to Pepperdine on Thursday, Jan. 5 for a 7 pm tip-off. The game can be seen on TheW.tv and can be heard on KXLU 88.9 FM. It will be a quick road trip as they will return home to face Santa Clara on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 3 pm. Saturday's game is a Little Lions Club game, with all members getting into the game FREE.
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