Feb. 15, 2012
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Photo Gallery by George Bean
BEAUMONT - Senior guard Devon Lamb posted his fifth straight game with a double-double Wednesday night at the Montagne Center, and three other Cardinals scored at least 11 points, as Lamar University clinched a spot in the Southland Conference Basketball Tournament with a 70-54 win over visiting Southeastern Louisiana.
The Cardinals, who improved to 17-9 overall and 8-4 in league play, will make their return to the conference tournament for the first time since the end of the 2007-08 season. Lamar will take a break from conference play this Saturday to travel to George Mason for a 3 p.m. game against the Patriots as part of the Sears BracketBusters series.
"One of our goals going into the season was to go to the postseason," said LU guard Mike James. "Now that we're going to Katy (site of the Southland Tournament), I feel like we'll have as good a chance to win the tournament as anyone."
After starting just 1-of-19 from the field in Saturday's 72-63 loss at Nicholls, Lamar came out much more focused against the Lions (9-15 overall, 3-9 in the Southland). Stan Brown knocked down a jumper at the 12:06 mark to cap a 15-0 run that put Lamar ahead 18-4.
"That's one of the best starts we've had," said LU head coach Pat Knight. "I get upset with some of the casualness when we could put them away. We still maintained a pretty good lead, but I'd like to see the lead increase into the 20s or 30s so you can make sure you get them out of there."
Anthony Miles, who moved into seventh place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,362 points, hit a jumper that gave Lamar its biggest lead of the first half at 29-11 with 6:27 to play. The Lions would not go away, closing the half on a 14-5 run to trail 34-25 at the break.
Roosevelt Johnson scored a layup 25 seconds into the second half to continue the SLU run and pull the Lions to within seven points at 34-27. Lamar scored 13 of the next 16 points, though, to push its lead back to 17 with 14:36 to play in the game.
The Lions would get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way as Lamar shot 52.0 percent from the floor in the second half.
While Lamar would finish with a healthy 48.3 percent shooting performance for the game, the Cards were a disappointing 11-of-20 (55.0 percent) from the free throw line on the night. LU came into the game hitting nearly 73 percent of its foul shots.
SLU finished with a slight 37-36 rebound advantage, but missed all 11 of its 3-point attempts. The Lions struggled to score against Lamar's tenacious defense and weren't helped by the fact that the Cards committed just nine turnovers in the contest.
Lamb, who now has a team-best nine double-doubles on the season, finished with 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. He was 5-of-7 from the floor and added two assists.
Miles finished the game with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while James added 17 points and four boards. Charlie Harper, who has come off the bench in three straight games, added 11 points and four rebounds.
Johnson had a big game for the Lions, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the second half. The 6-foot-6 forward also led all players with 12 rebounds. Guard Jeremy Campbell added 10 points.
The Cardinals, who won 83-59 at Southeastern Louisiana two weeks ago, have now won three straight over the Lions.