Dec. 15, 2012
EDINBURG - Texas-Pan American was able to overcome a four-point halftime deficit Saturday evening at the UTPA Fieldhouse by shooting 70.4 percent from the floor in the second half to hand Lamar University a 75-70 non-conference basketball loss.
The Cardinals, who fell to 1-10 on the season, seized their first halftime lead of the season at 31-27 after shooting a healthy 51.9 percent in the first half. However, the Broncs (4-7) were nearly flawless in their second half shooting in storming back for the win.
What may have been most disappointing for LU head coach Pat Knight was that his team shot it so well themselves. Lamar made 16 of its 29 field goal attempts in the second half, but was still outscored 48-39 over the game's final 20 minutes.
"I was pleased with about half the guys and half the guys I wasn't," said Knight about his team's effort. "For us to do something this year, we have to have all five guys play hard. I thought we relaxed in the second half and they just played harder than us.
"I like what I've seen from some of these guys, but I have to figure out what we need to do to improve. We'll have a good four or five days of practice before Christmas and then we finally get a home game. The only way to get better is practice."
The Broncs scored the first five points of the second half to grab a 32-31 lead after Lauri Toivonen knocked down a jumper and Jesus Delgado converted a steal into a layup and free throw following a Hondo Webb foul.
Rhon Mitchell, who finished with just six points on 3-of-10 shooting after scoring 40 points over his previous two games, gave the Cardinals the lead back just 13 second later with a 15-footer. After UTPA's Aaron Urbanus made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game at 33, Lamar took its final lead of the game on a pair of Stan Brown free throws with 18:42 to play that made it 35-33.
Delgado, who scored a career-high 18 points for the Broncs, tied the game at 35 on a layup at the 18:03 mark. Urbanus then picked off a Hondo Webb
pass and took it the length of the floor for a layup that gave the Broncs the lead for good at 37-35 with 17:05 to play.
UTPA's lead grew to as many as 11 points, and was still at 70-60 with 2:13 on the clock following another Delgado bucket. The Cards then went on an 8-2 run to get within four at 72-68 with 22 seconds to play.
Delgado got the lead back to five by hitting 1-of-2 free throws with 21 seconds to play. LU's Donnell Minton grabbed the second miss, but fell as he was dribbling up court and turned the ball over. A Josh Cleveland breakaway layup would close the Broncs' scoring with 11 seconds to play. Minton hit a layup as the buzzer sounded to make the final score 75-70.
Lamar shot a season-high 53.6 percent from the field in the game and outrebounded the Broncs 37-27. The Cardinals grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and finished the game with a commanding 18-0 advantage in second chance points.
As has plagued the Cards all year, turnovers once again proved to be an Achilles heel. Lamar coughed it up 17 times in the game, as compared to just nine for UTPA, and the Broncs enjoyed a 23-6 edge in points off turnovers.
Lamar led by as many as seven points in the first half. With the game tied at 10-10, Lamar used a 13-6 run to pull ahead 23-16 with 6:22 to play in the half. UTPA scored four straight, but Donley Minor and Keilan Blanks each hit jumpers to push LU's lead back to seven at 27-20 with under five to play.
An Urbanus 3-pointer pulled the Broncs to within two at 29-27, but Minton scored on a layup with 58 seconds to play to give Lamar the 31-27 lead at the break. The Cards limited the Broncs to just 34.4 percent shooting from the floor in the first half.
Minor and Amos Wilson each scored 15 points to lead the Cardinals. Wilson added five rebounds, while Minor dished out a team-high four assists. Brown added 11 points and seven rebounds and Blanks finished with nine points and three assists off the LU bench.
Urbanus scored 13 points for UTPA, but what may have been even bigger was that he dished out five assists with no turnovers. Toivonen, who came in averaging 1.9 points per game, added 11 points for the Broncs.