Feb. 11, 2012
THIBODAUX, La. - Lamar University couldn't overcome a woeful shooting performance Saturday afternoon at Stopher Gym as the men's basketball team fell 72-63 to host Nicholls in Southland Conference play.
The Cardinals fell to 16-9 on the year and 7-4 in league action. Lamar started the day tied with Northwestern State for second in the East Division standings, a half game behind McNeese State. The Colonels keep their Southland Tournament hopes alive by improving to 8-16 on the year and 4-8 in the conference.
Lamar, which had its four-game winning streak snapped, started the game just 1-of-19 from the floor and finished the game at 30.6 percent. The Cardinals trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half and shot just 23.1 percent over the first 20 minutes.
"We got off to such a bad start," said LU head coach Pat Knight. "You can't win any games when you start off 1-for-19. We just got in such a hole and I thought Nicholls was playing really well. They just jumped on us. We made a run here and there, but when you get down that many points against a team that's playing really well, you can't come back.
"It's a trap game, but we've got to do something better as coaches to get them prepared. We're dealing with a group of kids that winning is new to them. They have to understand that when you're playing for a division championship, people are going to come after you."
A Brandon Davis jumper with 15 seconds to play capped a 7-0 Lamar run to end the first half that made it a 35-25 game. Devon Lamb, who finished with his fourth straight double-double, scored the first three points of the second half to pull Lamar within seven at 35-28.
Lamar continued to chip away and Stan Brown's hook shot in the paint made it a 46-43 game with 8:58 to play. However, the Colonels responded with an 11-1 run over the ensuing 3:27 to build their lead back to 13. The Cardinals would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Lamar improved its shooting in the second half to 36.1 percent, but the Cards had no answer for the Colonels offense. NSU shot 61.9 percent from the floor in the first half and an even 50.0 percent in the second half.
While Lamar was not hitting its shots, the Cardinals did grab 21 offensive rebounds and finish the game with a 40-30 rebound advantage over Nicholls. The Cards were able to convert their board work into a 15-5 advantage in second chance points.
However, the Colonels were able to get to the basket. NSU finished with a 42-16 advantage in points in the paint which contributed greatly to their strong shooting performance. The Colonels also finished with a 10-0 advantage in fast break points.
Senior guard Anthony Miles hit a jumper just 2:47 into the game that gave Lamar a 4-3 lead, its only advantage of the game. The Cardinals would not make another field goal until Miles hit a 3-pointer with 7:09 to play in the first half. That bucket came with Lamar trailing 24-6.
Four Cardinal starters scored at least 12 points, but Lamar got just four points off the bench. Miles finished with 15 points, while Lamb added 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Leading scorer Mike James added 14 point, but he was just 4-of-13 from the field. He did hit all five of his free throw attempts as Lamar was a solid 21-of-27 (77.8 percent) from the free throw line. Stan Brown chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Colonels got the bulk of their scoring from two players as Dantrell Thomas and Trevon Lewis combined for 38 points. Thomas led all players with 21, finishing 6-of-12 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Lewis, who did not score in Lamar's 80-56 home win over Nicholls just two weeks ago, hit all seven of his field goal attempts en route to 17 points off the bench.