Feb. 26, 2011
BEAUMONT - Sam Houston state knocked down eight straight free throws over the final 46 seconds to close out a 67-60 Southland Conference basketball victory over Lamar University on Saturday night at the Montagne Center.
The loss dropped Lamar to 6-8 in SLC action, meaning the Cardinals will likely need to win their final two regular season games to earn one of the eight berths into the 2011 State Farm Southland Conference Basketball Tournament. LU will host Texas State on Wednesday and will close out the season at McNeese State next Saturday.
Lamar, which led 29-25 at the half, took its final lead of the game with 10:01 to play on a Donley Minor layup that made the score 40-39. The Bearkats' Josten Crow knocked down a jumper 20 seconds later to put his team up for good.
Crow's bucket sparked a 10-0 SHSU (15-12, 8-6 in the SLC) run over the next four minutes that saw the visitors lead grow to nine at 49-40. Lamar would cut the deficit to five at 54-49 with 2:47 to play on a Stan Brown free throw, but that would be as close as the Cards would get.
"We did not play with the intensity that I expected us to play with," said LU head coach Steve Roccaforte. "We've had instances in which we've had good practices and then come out and not play good in the games and we've had some instances when we've had some bad practices and then played good in the games. I can't figure it out."
Senior forward Gilberto Clavell, who finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, made all six of his free throws in the closing seconds. Drae Murray also had a successful 2-for-2 trip to the foul line that allowed Sam Houston to maintain its lead.
One of the keys to the game would be rebounding, and the Bearkats were able to muscle their way to a 41-27 advantage on the glass. Sam Houston's ability to score in the paint and at the free throw line more than made up for a dismal 3-of-17 shooting night from the 3-point line.
The Bearkats enjoyed a 38-20 advantage in points in the paint, helping them to shoot a robust 66.7 percent from the floor in the second half. Lamar was an identical 10-of-27 (37.0 percent) each half, and wasn't much better from 3-point range at 6-of-21.
"One of the keys to the game was to control the transition game and we didn't do that," noted Roccaforte. "We also needed to outrebound them and we didn't do that. We didn't have the huge number of turnovers but we had seven in the second half and each one came at critical times."
Junior Anthony Miles led a trio of Cardinals who scored in double-figures with 14 points. Miles was 3-of-3 from the free throw line, but the rest of his teammates were a combined 11-of-19.
Minor scored 11 points for Lamar, but was just 4-of-15 from the floor and 2-of-9 from 3-point range. Minor did play solid defense on Crow, the Bearkats' second-leading scorer, holding him to nine points on 3-of-10 shooting.
Brandon Davis came off the LU bench to score 10 points in just 17 minutes of action, connecting on a pair of 3-point bombs.