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Ben Ball Gameday Roundup: LMU Notes

Ben Ball warriors start a 4 game Holiday stretch of final non conference games prior to conference opener in Corvallis (they will take a breather from conference action against Notre Dame later in the year) tonight against Loyola Marymount. The Lions are struggling in every way one can imagine. They haven’t won a game (0-11). They are battered and bruised (more on that below) and they are playing without their head coach – Bill Bayno – who had to take a leave of absence after their fourth game after being “diagnosed with a serious medical condition, in part, related to the stress and anxiety of head coaching.” Yet they are doing what they can to battle it out under their interim head coach Max Good and recently put up a fight against the Fighting Irish losing to them by 11 points. So not exactly a game our guys can sleep walk through, and I am sure they are aware of some of the unbelievable upsets that have taken place around the nation.

Anyway, going back to LMU, the LA Times has a story on Bill Bayno:

Bayno wasn't sleeping well or, sometimes, at all. Nor was he eating much. After his assistants went home at night, he would stay up watching videotape in hopes of finding some detail that could help his team.

"He's a good soul and he takes responsibility for everything," Husak [LMU Athletic Director Bill Husak, BN Ed.] said. "At the end of the day, he couldn't put that aside."

In late November, Bayno released a statement saying he had been "diagnosed with a serious medical condition, in part, related to the stress and anxiety of head coaching." Friends say that depression forced him to take a leave of absence.

His players were in a state of shock and the university provided counseling.

"We have a young team that was attached to Bill," Husak said. "That loss, in the short term, was difficult to deal with."

Less than a month later, administrators report that Bayno is feeling better and they remain hopeful he can return. In the meantime, the Lions are dealing with a rash of injuries.

Good luck to Bayno. As for the injury issues, it’s not a pretty picture for LMU. They leading scores and rebounder Vernon Teel is out for few weeks with a broken foot. Per their official site they are down to seven scholarship players:

Just when it looked like the Lions were starting to get healthy, they find themselves back down to just seven scholarship players heading into the remainder of non-conference. Already with the absence of head coach Bill Bayno (see note below) due to health issues, LMU's roster, which has six newcomers and just three seniors, has gotten much slimmer. They started the season with just 10 eligible scholarship student-athletes, including five new to a Lion uniform. Junior transfer Larry Davis (Seton Hall) and sophomore Drew Viney (Oregon) will redshirt the season due to transfer rules while redshirt sophomore Terron Sutton is out for the year due to a torn ACL suffered in practice this October, and Tim Diederichs, who had played limited minutes in the first three games, requires surgery on his injured right shoulder suffered in the first weeks of practice this season. He will miss the remainder of the season and plans on applying for a medical redshirt. There is more. Leading scorer, rebounder and assist man Vernon Teel broke his right foot against Notre Dame and had surgery Nov. 26 and will be out four to six weeks. Ashley Hamilton, who missed three games due to a back injury, played 22 minutes in his return against UCSB. However, the back injury might keep him out the season as he did not play against UCR. With the injuries, the Lions are down to seven scholarship players, two of which - seniors Corey Counts and Chris Kanne - earned scholarships this summer after playing as walk-ons the last three seasons. Current walk-on Griffin Reilly is the ninth active player and saw his first minutes of action Tuesday at Arizona. The Lions added a 10th player to the roster in walk-on Daniel Latimer.

Well, it will be a big mistake if our guys start feeling too sorry about their opponent and lose their focus heading into tonight’s game. While they will need to make sure they give the Lion respect like any other opponent, the Ben Ball warriors will need to continue to work on the issues such as developing a patient offense, doing a better job holding on to the rock, and tightening up their defense. Hopefully this will be a game that will allow the freshmen to get more solid minutes to work on prototype Howland defense in game situations.

If you are wondering about the series history this is the 17th meeting between UCLA and LMU with the Bruins leading the series 14-2. We have won the last 11 meetings and haven't lost to LMU since dropping a 40-34 decision at home during the 1941-42 season. UCLA is 13-2 against LMU at home and 6-0 all-time in Pauley Pavilion. The last time these two teams met was in CBH’s first season, a 69-66 overtime victory in Pauley on Dec. 13, 2003. UCLA blew all of a 14-point lead in the second half, when the Lions closed with a 19-5 run over the final 2:39 to force overtime tied at 60.

Again, despite the numbers it would be a big mistake for our players to fall asleep and get distracted. Thankfully DC is striking the right notes:

UCLA point guard Darren Collison said. "(LMU) lost to Notre Dame by 11. I know if you show my coach, he won't tell you it's an easy game. He'll tell you those are the teams you have to look out for, and rightfully so."

The tip off is scheduled for 8:07 pm PST. The game thread will be go up about an hour before the tip off.