Lamar's season ends 71-59 to Vermont in NCAA First Four

GO CARDINALS <strong>Mike James slams home two of his 16 points versus Vermont</strong>
Mike James slams home two of his 16 points versus Vermont

March 14, 2012

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

DAYTON, Ohio - The Lamar University men's basketball team had a season to be proud of in 2011-12. Unfortunately the Cardinals could not keep their season moving on, falling 71-59 Wednesday night to Vermont in a NCAA Tournament First Four game from University of Dayton Arena.

The Cardinals close their year with a 23-12 record, their highest win total since the 1983-84 season. They also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in school history, but for just the first time since 2000.

While Lamar did not accomplish what it came to Dayton to achieve, first year head coach Pat Knight is proud of the year his team had.

"It's obvious when you take a team that hasn't been in the conference tournament, and it wins 23 games," said Knight. "They haven't won 20 games here since 1988. We won the division, went to the NCAA Tournament, and they haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2000. I think these guys did a heck of a job of leaving their legacy. These guys just made Lamar basketball relevant again. And it gives us something to build on from here on out, and it puts pressure on the team next year to get something done.

"I mean, these guys did something this year a lot of college athletes don't ever get to experience. They're down right now. Losing hurts. But what a ride it was. These guys were a blast to coach all year long. It was fun and a heck of a ride. I enjoyed it, and I'm going to miss them. But these guys, boy, I'll be talking about them until the day I die, this group."

In a battle between a pair of No. 16 seeds, Lamar could not get into an offensive rhythm against a bigger Vermont (24-11) team. The Catamounts, who won the America East Conference Tournament to earn their NCAA berth, limited Lamar to just 33.3 percent shooting for the game.

"Yes, but that's where patience comes in," said senior guard Anthony Miles about if the Vermont defense hurt the Lamar offense. "We didn't seem to have patience tonight. We were just a little timid and we wanted to make that big play or what, but we just could never did. We didn't just finally settle down until the second half. And with a good team like this, it's an NCAA team you can't shoot yourself in the foot like that. That's what we did."

After trailing 30-21 at the half, Lamar saw Vermont score the first five points of the second half and build a 14-point lead with 19 minutes to play. The Cardinals had no quit, and slowly chipped away until a Miles 3-pointer capped an 8-3 run that pulled his team within seven at the 9:18 mark.

The Catamounts, who shot 50.0 percent from the field, pushed their lead back to double-digits less than three minutes later. Lamar got within nine points at the 4:25 mark when a Devon Lamb three-point play made it 63-54, but that was as close as the Cardinals would get.

Despite a noticeable size disadvantage, Lamar was able to outrebound Vermont 40-34. The Cardinals grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and converted them into a 16-8 advantage in second chance points.

While the shooting by Lamar was not strong, the teams took exceptional care of the ball. Vermont turned it over just five times, while the Cards gave it away just seven times.

Lamar started the game well, jumping to a 6-2 lead nearly four minutes into the game on a pair of Miles jumpers and a Brandon Davis shot. The Catamounts used an 11-6 run to take their first lead at 13-12 with 11:55 to play in the first half.

Vermont would not surrender the lead again, eventually building a 22-12 lead just 8:26 seconds to play before the half. The Catamounts led by as many as 11 points in the first half before settling on the nine point halftime lead.

Playing in their final game for the Cardinals, Miles, Lamb and James combined for 46 of the Cardinals' 59 points. James scored 16 points before fouling out with 4:42 to play in the game.

Lamb scored just two first half points, but came to life in the second half to finish with 16 total points. He had an efficient night as he was 4-of-8 from the floor and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Lamb added six rebounds and a steal in his final college game.

Miles closed his impressive Lamar career with 14 points and three assists. The Houston native played in his school record 126th game Wednesday, including 105 career starts. He finishes his four-year career seventh on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,487 points, adding 530 rebounds and 416 assists.

Junior forward Stan Brown added six points and a career-high 13 rebounds.

Freshman guard Four McGlynn led all scorers with 18 points off the Vermont bench, leading to a 35-5 advantage for the Catamounts in bench scoring. McGlynn hit three of the Catamounts' four treys in the contest, adding three assists in just 27 minutes of playing time.

Matt Glass and Sandro Carissimo finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Sophomore forward Brian Voelkel finished with just three points for the Catamounts, but he also grabbed a team-high 12 boards and led all players with seven assists.




    Rotating Image