Jan. 21, 2012
CONWAY, Ark. - Lamar University shot a blistering 82.8 percent from the floor in the second half Saturday afternoon at the Ferris Center to blow open a tight game and pick up a 92-78 Southland Conference men's basketball victory over Central Arkansas.
The Cardinals put an end to their short two-game slide to improve to 12-7 on the year. Combined with Northwestern State's 64-61 win at McNeese State on Saturday, Lamar is now tied with both those schools at the top of the East Division standings at 3-2. LU will play at Northwestern State on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Lamar, which led just 30-29 at the half, missed just five field goals in 29 second half attempts in moving to 10-0 all-time against the Bears (7-10, 2-3). The Cardinals also completed the season sweep of the Bears after winning 103-67 in Beaumont two weeks ago.
Brandon Davis, who came off the LU bench to score 12 points, capped a 15-4 Lamar run that put the Cardinals ahead 10 points with 10:06 to play. UCA would get within seven points once, but the Bears simply couldn't match Lamar's offensive execution.
After settling for quick jump shots in the first half and shooting just 35.5 percent, Lamar was more aggressive in the second half about getting the ball to the basket. Senior Charlie Harper, who matched his season-high with 22 points and added 14 rebounds, was 8-of-10 in the second half as he sparked the Cardinals' run.
"We hammered the guys at halftime that this is a game where you can shoot a lot of layups," said LU head coach Pat Knight about the difference in the two halves. "Quit shooting jump shots, quit shooting runners. Get it to the basket. We have the proof now. We shot 82 percent in the second half, compared to 35 percent.
"Charlie was great. We got hammered on the boards. We gave up 11 offensive rebounds in the first half and that's way too many. Charlie helped us in the second half by getting on the boards. I thought he took advantage of his defenders by driving the ball and not settling for jump shots."
Lamar, which won for just the second time this season when being outrebounded (40-39), led by as many as 18 points in the second half. Not only did the Cardinals find their shooting touch in the second half, but they only committed four second half turnovers against the Bears' full-court pressure.
After a Stan Brown layup tied the game at 6-6, UCA went on an 11-3 run to build its biggest lead of the game at 17-9 with 13:58 to play in the first half. Anthony Miles capped a 7-0 Lamar run over the ensuing two minutes that pulled the Cards within one at 17-16.
The game stayed close for the rest of the first half with neither team getting up by more than three points.
The Cards finished the game shooting 58.3 percent from the field, and a solid 19-of-27 from the free throw line (70.4 percent). Lamar set a new season-high for points in a half with 62 in the second half.
The Bears were a strong 19-of-34 from the floor in the second half, but shot just 43.8 percent for the game. UCA was also a dismal 8-of-19 from the free throw line in the contest, while Lamar hit 19-of-27.
Miles matched Harper with 22 points as the duo was a combined 18-of-31 from the floor. Miles added five rebounds and four assists. Mike James finished with 16 points, four assists and three steals.
Robert Crawford led the Bears with 18 points, making four of his seven 3-point attempts. LaQuentin Miles, who entered the game averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game, added 16 points and seven rebounds. Mark Rutledge chipped in with 10 points.