Jan. 12, 2013
BEAUMONT - Lamar University rallied from a double-digit halftime deficit Saturday evening at the Montagne Center, but the Cardinals' comeback bid came up just short as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi picked up a 62-56 Southland Conference basketball victory.
The Islanders (2-12 overall, 1-3 in the Southland) led 31-20 at the half before Lamar stormed out of the locker room. Freshman Donnell Minton, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds off the bench, hit a jumper that capped an 11-2 LU run and made the score 33-31 with 16:48 to play.
AMCC then reeled off 11 straight points to build a 44-31 advantage with under 12 minutes to play. The Islanders were able to maintain their lead, but Lamar made one final push to try and pick up its first conference win of the year.
Keilan Blanks knocked down a layup with just under a minute and a half to play to pull the Cardinals to within three points at 57-54. Senior guard Donley Minor had the opportunity to get LU within one, but he couldn't hit the front end of a 1-and-1.
Johnathan Jordan, who led all players with 15 points and 11 assists, then made 1-of-2 free throws with 23 seconds to play to give AMCC a 58-54 lead. Jordan would hit four more free throws over the final 14 seconds of the game to seal the victory.
"It's been the same way the last three games," said LU head coach Pat Knight. "We've been down double-figures and you can't do that, especially in college basketball. It's so hard to come back. We make a run to come back, but when we get a chance to tie or take the lead, we turn the ball over.
"Then they'll get the lead back up and then we'll play really good basketball for two or three minutes to get the lead back down to two or three points. Then we make a crucial turnover. The first thing we've got to do is stop getting down by so much, but then we've got to stop making the turnovers."
After shooting a dismal 32.0 percent from the floor in the first half, the Cardinals (2-15 overall, 0-5 in the Southland) shot 56.5 percent in the second half. Minor, who led Lamar with 13 points and four assists, also hit all three of the Cards' 3-pointers in the second half.
As has been a struggle this season, turnovers once again proved costly for the Cardinals. While Lamar's final total of 15 is below its season average of 19.6, the Islanders were able to finish the game with a 24-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
Lamar also outrebounded AMCC 33-29 on the night, but the Islanders scored 17 second chance points on their 10 offensive rebounds.
Lamar never led in the game as Will Nelson knocked down a jumper to open the scoring. After trailing 17-8, Lamar scored four straight points to get within five. However, the Islanders scored the next seven points to build a 12-point advantage.
LU would get no closer than eight the rest of the first half, and Dale Francis' jumper with one second to play gave the Islanders an 11-point lead at the half.
Stan Brown finished with 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds for the Cardinals. Brown was 4-of-7 from the floor and added one of Lamar's three blocked shots in the contest.
Rhon Mitchell added eight points, four assists and three rebounds in 30 minutes of play off the LU bench. The Cardinals outscored AMCC 24-11 in bench points.
In addition to Jordan's big day, the Islanders got 13 points and a game-high nine boards from Nelson. Hameed added 10 points and knocked down two of the Islanders' four 3-pointers in the game.
The Islanders came in last in the Southland Conference in field goal percentage at 37.9 percent, but hit 52.0 percent of their shots in the first half and finished with 45.1 percent shooting on the night.