Jan. 2, 2014
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
After shooting nearly 60 percent in the opening half, Lamar struggled to a 4-of-19 (.211) effort in the second to fall to Stephen F. Austin (1-12/0-1 SLC), 85-65, Thursday night at the William R. Johnson Coliseum to open Southland Conference play. The loss drops Lamar to 1-12 on the season and 0-1 in conference play.
"After a great start offensively in the first half, we came out in the second and just couldn't knock down shots," said head coach Pat Knight. "We went really cold offensively, and then we weren't getting stops at the other end of the floor.
"We showed up and played for about three-fourths of the game, but I have to get these kids over the hump. The good part is it's a long season and we still have 17 conference games remaining. We can't give up."
SFA took advantage of Lamar's second-half shooting connecting on 53 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes to break the game open. The Lumberjacks finished the game 31-of-66 (.470). The `Jacks also made Lamar pay for its 18 turnovers, scoring 28 points on the Cardinals' miscues. Lamar forced SFA into 12 turnovers but could only muster nine points from the extra possessions.
SFA utilized a 13-2 run to build an 11-point lead with 12:52 remaining in the game. The Lumberjacks pushed that lead to 22 with 4:56 remaining. SFA pushed that lead to 26 points with just over four minutes left and Lamar was unable to threaten after that.
SFA jumped out to an early five-point lead, 8-3, to start the game but Lamar quickly erased any advantage SFA had. Lamar knocked down 9-of-their -first-12 (.750) attempts to tie the game at 22 with 7:52 remaining. Lamar finished off the half shooting better than 59 percent from the field, including a 3-of-5 (.600) mark from beyond the arc to go into the locker room down only two, 40-38. The Cardinals also took advantage of their opportunities from the free throw line converting 9-of-10 (.900) before half time.
SFA was able to hang with the Cardinals in the opening stanza by taking advantage of Lamar miscues. The Cards turned the ball over 11 times which SFA converted into 15 points.
The Cardinals were led in the opening half by junior Nimrod Hilliard who stretched his double-figure scoring streak to 13 games with 11 points in the opening 20 minutes. Hilliard was one of seven Cardinals to score in the first half.
After a strong first half Hilliard was shut down in the second finishing the game with 13 points. Hilliard was one of four Cardinals to finish the game in double digits led by senior Amos Wilson's 14 points.
Senior Desmond Haymon led the Lumberjacks with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He was one of five SFA players to finish the game in double digits.
Lamar returns to action Saturday when they travel to Natchitoches, La., to face Northwestern State. The game against the Demons is slated to tip off at 3 p.m.