Feb. 27, 2014
TULSA, Okla. -
Junior Anthony Holliday scored a career-high 18 points, and the Lamar Cardinals (3-24/2-13 Southland) jumped out to a 12-point lead but in the end Oral Roberts had too many answers defeating Lamar, 75-67, Thursday night at Mabee Center. The loss ended Lamar's chances of earning a spot in the Southland Conference Championship tournament.
"We got out to a really good start tonight," said interim head coach Tic Price. "We were playing with a lot of energy and jumped on them early, but we don't seem to keep that up for a full game. We have got to learn how to play with poise even when things aren't going our way.
The Cardinals hit four of their first six shots to build an early 12-point advantage, 18-6, in the opening half. The Cardinals shot better than 50 percent from the field for the first 16 minutes of the half, but the Golden Eagles turned up the defense to start chipping away at the lead.
ORU trimmed the lead down to six, 18-12, with 14:06 remaining in the opening half. The Golden Eagles continued their methodical pace cutting Lamar's advantage to three following a Korey Billbury jumper with 7:34 remaining in the half. Billbury kept Oral Roberts in the contest in the first half scoring 11 of his 20 points in the opening 20 minutes of action.
ORU reclaimed their first lead since the 18:49 mark when Jorden Kaufman buried a jumper to give the Golden Eagles back a one-point lead with 3:30 remaining in the first. Although the game would remain close for the rest of the first half, ORU would take a four-point advantage into the locker room. The Golden Eagles finished the half shooting 14-of-30 (.467) from the field, while the Cardinals' shooting fell off the pace late in the half, 12-of-29 (.414). The Southland's leading free throw shooting team, Lamar was only 4-of-9 (.444) from the stripe in the first half.
ORU opened the second half on 9-2 run to build a 43-32 lead, a lead it wouldn't relinquish. The Golden Eagles would push that advantage to 14 points before Lamar would go on a run to get back into the game. The Cardinals responded with a 15-5 run to cut the lead back down to six points with 10 minutes remaining. Lamar was unable to hold the momentum as ORU scored the next seven points of the game building its lead back to double digits. Lamar could get the deficit no closer than seven points after that.
In addition to Billbury's 20-point effort, the Golden Eagles' Shawn Glover added 25 points on 11-of-24 shooting to pull away from Lamar in the second half. Brandon Conley added 16 points. The Cardinals finished the night with four players in double figures led by Hilliard's 18. Juniors Nimrod Hilliard
and Donovan Ross
added 13 points while senior Amos Wilson
Lamar finished the game 25-of-56 (.446) from the field, while ORU connected on 46 percent of its shots. After struggling from the free throw line in the first, the Cardinals responded by converting all eight attempts in the second half finishing 12-of-17 for the night.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they travel to Conway, Ark., for their final regular-season road game. The game against the Bears is slated to begin at 4 p.m. from the Farris Center.