Cardinals Ride Pressure, Hot Shooting To Win Southland Opener, 81-56

GO CARDINALS Darren Hopkins finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including three 3-pointers.
Darren Hopkins finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including three 3-pointers.

Jan. 12, 2008

Box Score

Currye Todd and Darren Hopkins combined for 31 points and seven 3-pointers off the bench as Lamar University used a 19-2 second-half run to defeat UTSA, 81-56, in the Southland Conference opener for both teams at the Montagne Center Saturday.

With the Roadrunners holding a 36-35 lead two minutes into the second half, Justin Nabors ignited the aforementioned run with the first of two thunderous dunks on the night. Following a Lamar Sanders tip-in, Kenny Dawkins and Hopkins followed with consecutive 3-pointers to push the Lamar advantage to 45-36 with 14:19 left. A Sanders three-point play and buckets from Hopkins and two more from Dawkins made it a 16-point lead approaching the 10-minute mark.

Add to the fact that Travis Gabbidon, the Roadrunners' leading scorer entering the game, left with an injury with just over 16 minutes to play. He tried to return three minutes later but play was stopped after just 10 seconds as he was unable to play through obvious pain. He finished with 10 points - four under his average.

Lamar (7-7, 1-0 SLC) won its SLC lid-lifter for the second-straight season and improved to 36-21 all-time in conference openers, including a 22-4 mark in openers played in Beaumont. The Cardinals were 10-of-19 on 3-pointers for a season-high 52.6 percent. LU's 35 bench points were its fourth-most all year. LU also outscored UTSA 36-12 in the paint.

Todd led four Cardinals in double-figures with 16 points, followed by 15 each from Hopkins and Lamar Sanders and Matthew Barrow's 14. Sanders had eight rebounds, while Kenny Dawkins handed out a season-high eight assists to go along with nine points.



UTSA (6-8, 0-1 SLC) got 17 points on five 3-pointers from Joey Shank and 10 points and 13 boards from Keith Spencer. The Roadrunners shot just 38 percent in the second half and committed 19 turnovers.

Lamar led 35-31 at the half following an opening 20 minutes that saw seven ties and seven lead changes. The Cardinals closed the half on a 6-1 run following a pair of Gabbidon free throws that had given the Roadrunners a 30-29 lead with 1:57 to play.

Lamar will hit the road for three of its next four, beginning with a Thursday night battle at Stephen F. Austin (13-2, 1-1 SLC). Tip-off at the Johnson Coliseum in Nacogdoches is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.

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