Nov. 3, 2007
BEAUMONT - Junior Kenny Dawkins scored 21 points to lead Lamar University to a 92-75 win over Incarnate Word Saturday night in men's basketball exhibition action at the Montagne Center.
Lamar closes out its two-game exhibition schedule next Saturday at home against Central Oklahoma at 7 p.m. The Cardinals open the regular season Nov. 13 when LeTourneau University visits the Montagne Center for a 7 p.m. game.
"We've made a lot of progress and are a much better team this year," said Lamar coach Steve Roccaforte. "In last year's first exhibition game we had 22 turnovers, scored 59 points and lost by 16 points Tonight we only turned it over 11 times, scored over 90 points and won by 17. That's how I know we are much improved from last year."
After a tightly contested first 14 minutes, which featured four ties and nine lead changes, Lamar closed the opening stanza on a 16-8 run to take a 45-35 lead into the locker room at halftime. Leading by just two, 29-27, with 6:31 left in the first half. Dawkins and Tristan Worrell each made one of two free throws. Worrell added two more freebies.
Dawkins, a 5-9 guard from Holly Springs, Miss., made a layup and Currye Todd and Matthew Barrow nailed back-to-back three-pointers that put the Cardinals up 41-31 at 2:25. A Dawkins jumper at 2:03 capped a 10-2 run and give the Cardinals their biggest lead of the first half at 43-31.
After UIW cut the lead to seven, 55-48, with 13:10 left in the second half, Lamar responded with a 1-0 run. Todd started the run with a three-pointer, followed by a Lamar Sanders layup and a Dawkins jumper. Ashton Hall added a free throw and Lawrence Nwevo capped the run with a layup to push the lead to 17, 65-48, with 11:02 remaining in the game. UIW would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the game.
Dawkins was 7 of 11 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, in scoring 21 points. He also added six rebounds, three steals and seven assists with no turnovers.
"Kenny (Dawkins) is a good point guard and a great player," said Lamar coach Steve Roccaforte. "When people see him (Dawkins) and I tell them he is our point guard, they don't believe me because he's just 5-foot-9. What they don't know is that he is strong, athletic and knows how to play.
"He plays the point guard position how it's supposed to be played. He knows when to pass the ball and when to shoot. He makes everybody around him better. I'm glad he's on my team and I don't have to face him."
Barrow added 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field. Todd came off the bench to score 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Darren Hopkins chipped in 10 points to give the Cardinals four players in double-figures.
Lamar shot 44.7 percent (34-of-76) from the field, 31 percent (9-of-29) from 3-point range and 71.4 percent (15-of-21) from the free throw line. The Cardinals outrebounded UIW 42 to 39, including grabbing 14 on the offensive glass which led to nine second chance points. Lamar forced 21 turnovers, which led to 24 points, while committing just 11.
Pierce Caldwell recorded a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead UIW. Cameron Teague added 15 points and Tracy Robinson chipped in 10.
UIW shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field, 45 percent (9-of-20) from 3-point range and 76.2 percent (16-of-21) from the free throw line.