March 2, 2013
BEAUMONT - Playing in the final home game of their Lamar University careers, it was seniors Stan Brown and Donley Minor who led the way Saturday against Oral Roberts. Unfortunately, the Cardinals came up short in a 68-50 Southland Conference basketball loss to the visiting Golden Eagles.
Brown just missed out on a third straight double-double, registering 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds in 37 minutes of work. Minor led the Cardinals with 15 points, adding seven rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes in his last game on Billy and Pat Tubbs Court.
The loss drops Lamar University to 3-26 on the year and 1-15 in conference play as the Cardinals will miss out on this year's Southland Conference Tournament. ORU improves to 18-12 on the season and 13-4 in their inaugural run through the Southland Conference.
While the Cardinals' effort was there the entire evening, there offensive execution was not. Lamar managed to shoot just 20-of-55 in the game from the floor and committed 17 turnovers which the Golden Eagles turned into 13 points.
"Our guys played hard but we got in a stretch there where we couldn't buy a bucket," said LU head coach Pat Knight. "We weren't taking bad shots but we have a hard time scoring. We just got in a dry spell and they're (ORU) good. They've got some all-conference guys and they just capitalized when we couldn't hit (shots)."
"We're just not at their caliber this year. I thought we battled as long as we good but then we just ran out of gas. My guys worked hard but I wish we could've gotten a win today."
After trailing 30-21 at the half, Lamar kept the game close and eventually pulled to within six points on a Minor 3-pointer at the 9:25 mark that made it a 44-38 game. Shawn Glover, who led all scorers with 19 points, capped a 14-1 ORU run that gave the visitors a 58-39 advantage with 4:33 to play.
Lamar outrebounded the larger Golden Eagles 36-35 on the night but never got any closer than 16 points the rest of the way. ORU, which came into the game ranked among the top 30 teams in the nation in free throw shooting, hit 9-of-12 in the second half to secure the victory.
The Golden Eagles knocked down six 3-pointers on the night, but after hitting just 1-of-8 in the first half, were a sparkling 5-of-8 in the second. ORU committed just nine turnovers and outscored Lamar 34-24 in the paint.
After not hitting a 3-pointer for the last three games, Lamar got four in the second half from Minor to match his single-game season-high. A native of Los Angeles, Minor's seven rebounds matched his career-high set earlier this season against Central Arkansas.
Brown shot 5-of-14 from the floor in the game as he battled with ORU's Damen Bell-Holter for much of the night. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Bell-Holter finished with just 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting, but did pull down 13 rebounds.
ORU led the entire game and opened a 12-4 lead with 13:15 to play in the first half on a pair of Warren Niles free throws. LU scored the next seven points to pull within one at 12-11 before the Golden Eagles answered right back with a 7-0 run that made the score 19-11 with just over eight minutes to play before halftime.
Rhon Mitchell, who finished with seven points, hit a layup on a feed from Keilan Blanks to get Lamar within four at 23-19, but ORU closed the half on a 7-2 run. Korey Billbury hit a layup and was fouled by Amos Wilson with just one second to play in the first. The freshman guard added the free throw as he was putting together a career night that finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
Wilson came off the LU bench for just the second time in the last 10 games and finished with seven points and eight rebounds. Forward Nikko Acosta, the third Lamar senior to be honored before the game, got the start and played 11 minutes.
ORU got just two points off its bench, but four of its five starters scored in double-figures. In addition to the big games from Glover and Billbury, Niles finished with 17 points and hit three of the Golden Eagles' six 3-pointers on the night.
The Cardinals, who won the 2012 Southland Conference Tournament to advance to the NCAA's for the sixth time in school history, will close the regular season on the road. Lamar will face Nicholls on Thursday before taking on Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday.