Feb. 15, 2014
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Sophomore Rhon Mitchell scored a career-high 26 points as Lamar battled Northwestern State late into the second half, but the Demons made a late surge to pull away from the Cardinals, 87-67, Saturday night at the Montagne Center in Beaumont. The loss drops Lamar to 3-22 on the season, and 2-11 in the Southland Conference.
"It was tough on these guys tonight," said head coach Pat Knight. "We're shorthanded right now and just didn't have anyone to send in to give them a breather. Hopefully we can get guys some rest and help them out. We're not talking about giving guys 10-minute breaks, but a couple minutes here really helps them out.
"These guys have continued to play all season. They come to practice and work hard every day. We're not getting the end result that we want but they continue to work hard."
Mitchell scored 16 of his 26 points in the first half as Lamar built a seven-point lead. The Cardinals held the advantage until late in the first half when Sabri Thompson buried a three-point to give Northwestern State a one-point advantage, 30-29, with less than 4:30 remaining in the half. It was the first lead for the Demons since the score was 4-0.
The Demons took a two-point lead into the locker room, 39-37. Both teams shot the ball well in the opening 20 minutes as Northwestern State finished the half at a 50-percent clip, while Lamar was 46 percent. The Demons found an advantage on the glass, as well taking advantage of their depth off the bench. The visitors outrebounded Lamar by seven in the first half which they converted into eight-point advantage on the scoreboard. The Northwestern reserves outscored a short Lamar bench, 22-2, in the first.
Despite the LU injuries, the Cardinals were able to hang with the defending SLC tournament champions until late in the second. Junior Donovan Ross scored 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including a 10-of-13 mark from the free throw line as Lamar found itself down by one with 17:28 to play, but that would be as close to victory as Lamar would come.
The Demons continued to make wholesale substitutions throughout the contest, and it began to pay dividends. Northwestern State went on a 19-8 run push their lead to 18 points with 10:22 remaining. Lamar responded but cutting the deficit back to 11 points but could never get it back to single digits.
Northwestern State utilized nine players off the bench, including three who finished the game in double figures. Six Demons scored at least 10 points in the game as Northwestern finished the night 37-of-70 (.529) from the floor, and 7-of-15 (.467) from beyond the arc.
Junior Sebastian Norman gave Lamar a spark off the bench when senior Amos Wilson got into foul trouble. Norman scored six points and pulled down a career-high seven points.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday for a rematch with Sam Houston State. The game against the Bearkats will tip off 30 minutes following the conclusion of the women's game, and will not start prior to 6 p.m.