Jan. 5, 2013
NATCHITOCHES, La. - Senior Stan Brownregistered his third career double-double Saturday afternoon at Prather Coliseum but it was not enough as the host Northwestern State Demons handed Lamar University an 86-58 loss in Southland Conference men's basketball action.
The Cardinals trailed 46-27 at the half, but battled hard in the second half to make it close against the more experienced Demons. Rhon Mitchell emphatically slammed home an alley-oop pass from D.J. Muepothat capped a 9-0 Lamar run and made it a 52-42 game with 13:04 to play.
However, Lamar couldn't overcome the hole it dug or its turnovers in taking the loss. Lamar, which fell to 2-12 overall and 0-2 in league play, will have little rest as it will host Southeastern Louisiana on Monday night at 7:30 in its conference home opener.
"We turned it over way too much and missed too many layups around the bucket," said LU head coach Pat Knight. "We did a good job fighting back and their (NSU's) style of play, they can put points on you in bunches. That's what happened.
"The effort was better (than at Stephen F. Austin) and we competed, but we're not a very good team right now. I can live with a loss as long as we get the effort because we can turn that into something. We had some of the younger guys step up and that was good. We have a lot of work to do, and the main thing we have to do is take care of the basketball."
A flurry of turnovers late allowed NSU (8-4 overall, 2-0 in the Southland) to go on a 28-8 run and build an 80-50 lead with 4:38 left in the contest. Brown, who finished with 13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, hit a pair of free throws to end the run.
Lamar shot 12-of-35 from the floor in each half (34.3 percent) in its worst shooting performance in six games. While the Demons weren't much better at 39.4 percent, NSU benefitted from a 25-of-35 day from the free throw line. Lamar was just 10-of-20 from the charity stripe, including 7-of-16 aim in the second half.
The Cards had twice as many turnovers as the Demons (20-10), and NSU was able to turn that total into a decisive 27-2 advantage in points off turnovers. NSU also enjoyed an 8-0 edge in fast break points.
Lamar finished with a season-high 52 rebounds, including 20 off the offensive glass. Six of Muepo's career-high eight boards were after missed LU shots and the Cardinals managed a 23-19 advantage in second chance points.
NSU's Gary Stewart opened the scoring with a corner 3-pointer and the Demons' lead grew to 11-4 just over three minutes into the game. The Demons opened up a 10-point lead at 23-13 with 8:38 to play in the half as O.J. Evans made 1-of-2 free throws.
Amos Wilson, who was one of four Cardinals to score in double-figures, scored a layup with 5:06 to play that made it a 28-21 game. However, NSU would outscore Lamar 18-6 over the final five minutes of the first half to build its 19-point lead.
Brown finished 5-of-13 from the floor and was only 3-of-7 from the free throw line. However, he battled against the much larger Demon frontline for his game-high 14 rebounds and had the Cardinals' only blocked shot in the game.
Muepo, who was making his first career start, matched Brown with 13 points and also handed out five assists. Wilson added 12 points and Donnell Minton finished with 10 points off the Lamar bench. Senior guard Donley Minorfinished with just four points, but added six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
The Demons got points from 11 different players, including 15 apiece from Shamir Davis and DeQuan Hicks. James Hulbin and Hicks each grabbed eight rebounds to pace the Demons, and Hulbin added three of NSU's six blocked shots.
Freshman guard Jalan West, who came in averaging 13.3 points per game, was held to just four points on 1-of-6 shooting. However, the Demon playmaker led the team with five assists and seven of NSU's 12 steals in the contest.