Nov. 17, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A year after losing by 18 points in the Montagne Center, Charlotte returned the favor to the Lamar men's basketball team, handing the Cardinals a 70-49 loss Saturday evening at Halton Arena.
The Cardinals, who were playing the first of their three games over four days, fell to 0-3 with the loss. Lamar will play host Virginia on Monday at 6 p.m. in a third-round NIT Season Tip-Off contest before closing out the NIT with IUPUI on Tuesday afternoon.
"I think this early schedule is making us tougher," said second-year head coach Pat Knight. "I have a lot of inexperienced guys. You just have to get experience. The two problems we're having are turnovers and we're playing soft. You can't have those two, but kids aren't used to this pressure.
"Charlotte is a good team. They have all the pieces. They're big, strong and they play well together. Playing teams like this will get us ready for conference and that's how I have to look at it. But, having said that, I don't like losing."
After falling behind 39-22 at the half, the Cardinals scored four quick points to open the second half and get back within 13 points. The Cardinals could not overcome their shooting woes and would get no closer the rest of the way, however. LU hit just 19 of its 61 shots on the night (31.1 percent), while the host 49ers finished with 10 more made field goals.
For the third straight game, turnovers plagued the young Cardinals. LU finished with 22 turnovers which Charlotte was able to convert into 25 points. The 49ers were also able to take advantage of their length to outscore the Cardinals 40-26 in the paint.
Charlotte's lead grew to 29 points late in the second half, including a 70-41 margin with 4:02 to play after DeMario Mayfield grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the put back.
LU showed no quit and closed the game on an 8-0 run for the final score. Senior forward Stan Brown, who led all players with 11 rebounds, got the run started with a layup. Rhon Mitchell followed with a free throw line jumper before Nikko Acosta hit a pair of free throws. Mitchell closed the scoring with a layup at the 40-second mark.
Lamar got off to a solid start, building an 8-4 lead just over three minutes into the game. The 49ers would catch the Cardinals at 8-8 on a Darion Clark Jumper and took a 10-8 lead at the 15:07 mark on a Willie Clayton layup. The Cardinals would not pull even the rest of the way.
Mitchell registered his first career double-double, finishing with a team-high 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. The redshirt freshman was 7-of-15 from the floor in the game and pulled down four of his rebounds off the offensive glass.
Offensive rebounding was a strength for Lamar all night as the Cardinals finished with an 18-12 advantage. Lamar converted its board work into an 18-11 edge in second chance points and the Cards finished with a 49-39 rebound advantage overall.
Wilson was the only other Cardinal to score in double-figures as the junior forward went for 10 points on 5-of-11 aim. Wilson, who also pulled down five boards in 22 minutes, scored eight of his 10 points in the first half.
Senior guard Donley Minor, who came into the game averaging 13.5 points per contest, finished with just six points on 1-of-10 shooting. Minor missed all four of his 3-point attempts as the Cardinals were 0-of-10 from long range as a team. The fourth-year player did grab six boards and handed out four of Lamar's nine assists.
Acosta matched his career-high with seven points and pulled down a personal-best seven rebounds in the contest.
The 49ers, who shot 53.1 percent from the field in the first half, got 16 points and four steals from Denzel Ingram off the bench. Charlotte also got 12 points from Mayfield and nine from Braswell off its bench to finish the game with a 43-13 advantage in bench points.