Dec. 14, 2011
BEAUMONT - Senior guards Anthony Miles and Mike James came off the Cardinals' bench to combine for 34 points, and sophomore guard Tre Lynch added a career-high 12 points in his first career start, as the Lamar men's basketball team overcame a slow start Monday night at the Montagne Center to blast Huston-Tillotson 88-59.
Lamar, which will play at Rice on Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m., improved to 7-3 on the year. The Cardinals are a perfect 5-0 at home, as well as 5-0 all-time against the Rams (0-8).
After a disappointing practice by the Lamar starters on Tuesday, LU head coach Pat Knight went with a new starting lineup. The starting unit that he did put on the floor did not come out as Knight expected and quickly dug itself a 20-8 hole with 11:04 to play in the first half.
Knight inserted his regular starting five at the following media timeout, and the Cards quickly went on a 17-4 run over the next six minutes to pull ahead 25-24. Lamar finished the first half on a 7-2 run over the final 4:35 to take a 32-26 lead at the half.
"I think they were chomping at the bit to get in," said Knight about his regular starters. "I liked their attitude, though. They wanted to get in the game, and when we started to get behind, they wanted to get in the game even more to get the lead back."
James slammed home two of his 16 points to cap a 10-0 Lamar run to open the second half that gave the Cardinals a 42-26 lead with 18:10 to play. The Rams' Ronzelle Fort stopped the run with a pair of free throws 19 seconds later, giving HTU its first points in just over five minutes of game action.
Lynch would then provide a spark for the Cardinals from that point. After going scoreless in the first half, the 6-foot slasher scored 12 points and handed out three assists. His most impressive points on the night came on a dunk down the lane with 4:06 to play that gave the Cardinals an 85-54 lead and brought the crowd to its feet.
After shooting just 38.2 percent from the floor in the first half, the Cardinals connected on 54.1 percent in the second half. While Lamar did suffer an off night at the free throw line (17-of-27), it more than made up for it with a 51-37 rebound advantage.
The Cardinals committed just 13 turnovers in the contest, while forcing the Rams into 18. Lamar also picked up an assist on 21 of its 33 baskets.
"It's totally different playing in a game than in practice," said Knight. "This sets us up good. We've got three really big road games coming up. I'm kind of glad we had this game instead of playing this way against Rice. Hopefully we got it out of the way."
Miles finished with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including matching his career-high with four 3-pointers. Brandon Davis also scored in double-figures for Lamar, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes of work.
While Devon Lamb and Charlie Harper didn't score as much as usual, the duo did provide plenty of support in other areas. Lamb did a little bit of everything, grabbing eight rebounds, handing out four assists and picking up five steals. Harper led the Cardinals with nine rebounds.
Fort, a 6-foot-8 freshman center, led the Rams offense with 19 points. Lance Richardson added a double-double, finishing with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.