Dec. 11, 2012
LAFAYETTE, La. - Lamar University couldn't overcome a cold-shooting first half Tuesday evening at the Cajundome as the Cardinals fell 77-60 to long time rival Louisiana-Lafayette in a non-conference men's basketball contest.
Redshirt freshman Rhon Mitchell led the Cardinals' second half effort as he scored 18 of his season-high 21 points in the final 20 minutes. The Cardinals shot a healthy 57.6 percent from the floor in the second half behind Mitchell's 8-of-12 effort but couldn't make up the deficit.
The loss dropped the Cardinals to 1-8 on the season. Lamar will not get any rest either as it heads straight to Baylor to face the Bears on Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.
The Ragin' Cajuns (4-6) built their largest lead of 24 points at 67-43 with 7:50 to play in the game following an Elfrid Payton 3-point play. Payton was one of four UL-Lafayette players to score in double-figures, finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.
A Mitchell layup capped a 7-0 Lamar run over the following 2:20 to get the Cardinals back within 17 points at 67-50. Lamar, which finished the game with a 39-36 rebound advantage, would draw no closer than 17 points the rest of the way.
Lamar's first half turnovers contributed mightily to a 37-19 deficit at intermission. The Cardinals committed 17 of their 25 turnovers in the first half with the Ragin' Cajuns converting Lamar's miscues into 15 points. Louisiana-Lafayette finished the game with a 24-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
"Seventeen turnovers to zero assists, it doesn't matter what defense you play or offense, when you turn the ball over as much as we are, you aren't going to win any games," said LU head coach Pat Knight. "I think we're playing pretty good defense, but our turnovers really hurt because they always lead to buckets.
"I think guys are pressing too much, trying to do too much. We have to do a better job in practice to go against the press more and do more ball handling. These guys are all new guys and I need to do a better job working on it on practice. It's something I think we can correct."
The Cajuns jumped on Lamar quickly to open the game, scoring the first 11 points of the contest. Freshman guard Donnell Minton finally put the Cardinals on the board with a jumper at the 14:56 mark to make it an 11-2 game.
Minton's jumper sparked a 6-1 Lamar run that made it 12-6 with 12:02 to play in the first half. The Cajuns' Alan-Michael Thompson, who scored a career-high 18 points, then sparked an 11-4 UL-Lafayette run with his 3-point shooting to push the lead to 23-10 with 7:31 to play in the first.
Lamar got within nine points, but the Cajuns scored 12 of the final 15 first half points. The Cardinals were just 6-of-24 from the floor in the first half. The Ragin' Cajuns weren't much better at 35.3 percent, but they did knock down five first half treys.
The Cardinals finished the game with 25 made baskets, but had just five assists on the night as most of the points came on individual efforts. Lamar did have eight steals in the game, including four from Donley Minor, but the Cajuns picked up 14 thefts of their own.
Minor was the only other Cardinal to score in double-digits, finishing with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Minor and Mitchell combined to shoot 15-of-29 with the rest of the team finishing just 10-of-28.
Senior forward Stan Brown came into the game averaging a team-high 10.3 points per game but managed just four in the contest. Brown did join Mitchell and Minor with six rebounds to lead the Cardinals.
In addition to Payton's big night, Shawn Long added a double-double for the Ragin' Cajuns with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Bryant Mbamalu added 10 points, as well.
The Cajuns finished the game with eight made 3-pointers on 24 attempts and had a 16-10 advantage in second chance points as they grabbed 15 offensive rebounds.