Dec. 18, 2013
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -
Heartbreak. It is a term that the Lamar men's basketball team has had to deal with on what seems like a nightly basis over the course of the past few games. The word was never more painful than Wednesday evening when LIU-Brooklyn's Gerrell Martin buried a three-pointer with one-tenth of a second remaining on the clock. The game-winner coming just four seconds after Nimrod Hilliard tied the game with a layup.
The dagger at the buzzer gave LIU-Brooklyn (4-6) an 82-79 victory over the Cardinals. The loss dropped Lamar to 1-9 on the season.
"We're getting better," said Lamar head coach Pat Knight. "We finally put two good halves together which put us in a position to win a game. Our defense was slacking at times tonight which really hurt us. These guys are getting better. If you pay attention to just the record on the surface, it isn't good at all, but what we have to remember is conference is what counts for us. I told these guys tonight that I believe in them. I believe we've got a good team, and we're going to continue to get better. We still have a long way to go in this season."
The Cardinals opened the half with an eight-point advantage but that was nearly erased by LIU-Brooklyn in first two minutes of the second half. The Blackbirds opened the half on a 6-0 run, but the Cardinals wouldn't relinquish the lead. LIU battled back to tie the game several times in the second half, but Lamar always seemed to find an answer. Twice that answer came from junior Octavius Green who came off the bench in the second half to hit consecutive threes to hold the LU lead.
Lamar would keep the lead until 7:11 mark when LIU would reclaim a one-point advantage, 68-67, off a Troy Joseph three-pointer. The Blackbirds would push that advantage to five points before Lamar would comeback.
Following a Rhon Mitchell
free throw to cut the deficit to two points with 48 seconds remaining, the Cardinals tightened defensively not allowing LIU to get off a shot on its next possession. Lamar got the basketball back following a timeout. After running the clock down to seven seconds, junior Nimrod Hilliard
drove the basket and knocked down the left-handed layup in traffic with seconds remaining, but it was just enough time for the Blackbirds to answer.
Martin's game-winning shot gave him 12 points in the contest, 10 of those coming in the second half. He was one of four Blackbirds to finish the game in double-figures led by E.J. Reed's 19 points.
Trailing by a point at the under eight media timeout, the Cardinals picked up the pace offensively in the first half. Lamar connected on 8-of-their-next-9 attempts to reclaim the lead, and never looked back in the opening half taking an eight-point lead into the locker room, 42-34.
While Lamar was heating up, the basket began to jump around on LIU. The Blackbirds were only able to connect on 2-of-their-next-9 attempts during that same stretch. Lamar finished the half shooting 17-of-33 (51.5 percent), while LIU was held to 8-of-25 (.320).
The Cardinals, who finished the night 30-or-60 (.500) from the floor, also had four players in double figures. Hilliard led the way with 21 points. Sophomore Rhon Mitchell scored the team's first five points of the game and finish with 20 points.
Junior Donovan Ross showed signs of coming out of his slump recording his second double-double of the season. Ross scored 15 points and pulled down a game-high 12 points. Senior Amos Wilson added 14 points off the bench.
The Cards, who outrebounded their hosts by 10, 41-31, did a majority of their damage in the paint. Lamar scored 42 of their points in the key.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they travel to Buffalo, N.Y., to take on Canisius. The game against the Golden Griffins will tipoff at 3:15 (2:15 Central time) p.m.