Lamar to open SLC play at Central Arkansas

GO CARDINALS <strong>Mike James is coming off a school record 52-point effort</strong>
Mike James is coming off a school record 52-point effort

Jan. 6, 2011

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CONWAY, Ark. - With the buzz still remaining from junior Mike James' scoring outburst on Tuesday night, Lamar University will open Southland Conference action with a regionally televised contest at Central Arkansas on Saturday afternoon at 2 from the Farris Center.

James, who scored a school-record 52 points in Lamar's 114-62 win over Louisiana College, also tied the Southland Conference record for most points in a single game set by UTSA's Roderic Hall in 1997. The 6-foot-1 guard bested the Lamar record of 50 points established by all-time great Mike Olliver on Jan. 12, 1980.

The Cardinals bring a 6-7 record into Saturday's contest which can be heard live on KLVI 560 AM and will be televised on SLC TV (KUIL-TV Ch. 43). Lamar is a perfect 6-0 all-time against the Bears (4-9), who are eligible for the SLC Tournament for the first time ever after gaining full Division I status.

Lamar is 37-22 all-time in conference openers, including a 23-13 record while a member of the Southland Conference. Lamar is 11-10 all-time when opening on the road in SLC play, and is 3-1 under head coach Steve Roccaforte in conference openers.

The preseason coaches' poll picked the Cardinals to finish fourth in the East Division, with UCA tabbed to place sixth. A wide-open race, Lamar earned two first place votes with five schools in the East Division receiving at least one.

Lamar and UCA met just once last year, with the Cardinals winning 73-65 in the Montagne Center. After trailing by 11 at the half, UCA cut the LU lead to one point, but could get no closer. The Cardinals knocked down 18-of-21 free throw attempts in closing out the victory.

Justin Nabors led the Lamar effort, finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Current LU junior Anthony Miles added 15 points, while fellow junior Charlie Harper finished with 11 points, six rebounds and a career-high seven assists.

The Bears got 34 points from Mitch Rueter, who is no longer on the team.

The Cardinals, who are 3-0 against the Bears in Conway, are third in the nation in scoring at 88.8 points per game. Lamar is shooting 43.5 percent from the floor, 34.9 percent from 3-point range and 70.7 percent from the free throw line. The Cardinals are ranked among the national leaders in steals at 9.8 per outing.

Thanks in large part to his huge game, James is now the team's leading scorer at 15.9 points per game. James, who has come off the bench in all eight of his appearances, tied a school and SLC record with 11 3-pointers against LC.

Senior Kendrick Harris is the Cards' other double-figure scorer at 11.6 per game, but there are 10 LU players averaging at least five a game. Harper leads the team in rebounding at 6.8 per game, while Miles is averaging 3.7 assists per game to pace the team.

The Bears are getting 12.5 points per game from senior guard Imad Qahwash, and are scoring 72.5 per game as a team. UCA, which is coached by former NCAA and NBA champion Corliss Williamson, is giving up 73.2 points a game.

Three other projected UCA starters are scoring at least nine points per game, with junior forward Chris Henson leading the team on the glass with 5.8 rebounds per outing.




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