Jan. 4, 2011
BEAUMONT - It was the Mike James show at the Montagne Center on Tuesday night as the junior guard scored a Lamar University record 52 points in the Cardinals' 114-62 rout of Louisiana College.
James' Montagne Center record (previous mark of 39 by LU's Landon Rowe and Southern University's Terry Thames) came almost 30 years to the day that Mike Olliver dropped 50 points in LU's 141-84 win at Portland State.
James tied the school scoring record on his 11th 3-pointer of the game, and set the mark on a resounding slam dunk with 37 seconds to play. His 11 3-pointers also tied the mark set twice by Keith Veney in 1993, and broke the Montagne Center record of nine held by three former Cardinals.
"Coach (Steve) Roc(caforte) told me in the huddle that I had a chance for the school record for 3-pointers in a game, and he told me to try and get the record," said James. "I didn't know the part about 50 points being the school record until I heard the PA announcer say it.
"It means a lot to set a school record like that. You get remembered forever. When I come back here after my playing days are over, people will remember who I am and what I did in this game tonight."
The Cardinals, who will open Southland Conference play at Central Arkansas on Saturday afternoon at 2, improved to 6-7 on the year. The UCA game will be televised live in Beaumont on SLC TV (Ch. 43).
While James was obviously gunning for the record, he still shot the ball well, making 18-of-35 field goal attempts and 11-of-21 3-pointers. The 35 field goal attempts is the most ever in the Montagne Center, while the 21 3-point tries is also a Montagne Center high, and just one off the all-time Lamar record.
The 52 points not only sets a new school record, but is also the most points scored by a NCAA Division I basketball player this season. Andrew Nicholson of St. Bonaventure had the previous season high with 44 points against Ohio on Dec. 18.
Lamar led by just eight points at the half, 44-36, despite James' 21 first half points. The Cardinals opened the second half on a 17-2 run over the first four minutes, capped by a James layup, to open a 23-point lead and never looked back.
"Mike scored 52 points in 28 minutes," noted head coach Steve Roccaforte. "That has to be an all-time phenomenal accomplishment. We talked about Mike on my radio show just last night, and I said then that I thought his maturity process was getting to where it needed to be."
For the game, Lamar shot 48.2 percent from the floor and connected on 17-of-42 from 3-point range. Despite the pace of the game, Lamar committed just 14 turnovers and outscored the Wildcats (4-6) 29-5 in points off turnovers.
About the only thing the Cardinals didn't do well, was shoot free throws. Lamar managed just 17-of-30 aim from the free throw line.
The Cardinals were able to grab 20 of their 61 rebounds off of their own missed shots, leading to a 26-5 advantage in second chance points. LC managed just 43 rebounds and shot 33.8 percent from the floor in the contest.
In addition to the big night by James, fellow junior Devon Lamb finished with 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds in only 22 minutes of work. Brandon Davis added 14 points and Kendrick Harris finished with 10.
Junior center Orlando Brazier, making his third start of the year, matched Lamb's 11 rebounds, while Charlie Harper grabbed 10 boards off the LU bench.
The Wildcats had only one double-figure scorer as Jarrod Jackson finished with 13 points. Korey Salmon added nine points and 12 rebounds for LC.