Nov. 1, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Sophomore Donnell Minton poured in 18 points leading Lamar to a 66-62 exhibition victory over McMurry Friday evening at the Montagne Center in Beaumont. Minton was one of two Cardinals to finish the game in double figures as junior Donovan Ross added 12 points on 6-of-10 (.600) shooting, and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
"You can never take anyone for granted," said head coach Pat Knight. "The one problem with exhibition games is that kids take a look at who they are playing. I warned these guys leading up to this game that McMurry is going to be ready to play. Head coach Cliff Carroll is one of my former assistants, and (McMurry's) Hondo Webb played for us last season. Games like this are good for your team early in the season. You learn more from an exhibition like this than beating a team by 40 points."
Friday's exhibition was the first opportunity to see the 2013-14 version of the Lamar Cardinals, who enter the new campaign with seven new players. Lamar shot 40 percent from the floor against the Warhawks, but struggled from beyond the arc knocking down only 4-of-14 (.286) attempts.
It was a similar story for the Warhawks who shot 37 percent (22-of-59) from the floor, but were held to 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from beyond the arc. The Cardinals forced McMurry into 18 turnovers which the home team cashed in for 15 points.
LU jumped out to a double-digit lead, 19-7, midway through the first half before McMurry mounted a comeback. The Warhawks rattled off a 13-0 run sparked by a Brandon Golden three-pointer to a take a one-point lead with 6:35 remaining. Lamar reclaimed the advantage after an Octavius Green three-pointer and consecutive baskets by Ross, but McMurry would take a one-point lead into the intermission.
The back-n-forth affair continued throughout the second half as neither team could manage greater than a five-point lead. McMurry grabbed a one-point advantage with less than 3:30 remaining but Lamar closed the contest scoring eight of the game's final 11 points to ice the victory.
There were 12 lead changes in the contest, and it was tied eight times. LU got a boost from its bench outscoring the McMurry reserves, 23-10. The Cardinals also had a 14-0 advantage in fast break points.
The Warhawks were led by Alfred Perez and Connor Robison who finished the game in double-digits. Perez had 17 points, while Robinson added 16 points and six rebounds.
Lamar opens the 2013-14 season Saturday, Nov. 9 when they travel to Indianapolis, Ind., to face Butler. The game against Butler will be one of four against teams that played in the 2013 NCAA Championships.