Lamar Opens SLC Play At Home With UTSA Saturday

Currye Todd

Jan. 11, 2008

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Second Season Begins Saturday
With the 13-game non-conference schedule in the rear-view mirror, Lamar opens Southland Conference play on Saturday against UTSA at the Montagne Center. The game is also the SLC-opener for UTSA.

Lamar-UTSA Series History
Tonight marks the 26th all-time meeting with UTSA as the Cardinals lead 15-10 overall and 6-3 in Beaumont. Lamar won last year's meeting, 71-59, in San Antonio on Jan. 6. Overall, the Cardinals have won the last five in the series after dropping 10 of the previous 11. That stretch followed the first nine games in the teams' history in which LU came out on top in every game. This will be the first game in Beaumont since Feb. 5, 2005, ending a string of four straight in San Antonio.

Cardinals In Conference Openers
Lamar is 35-21 all-time in conference openers with a 21-4 mark in openers at home. The Cardinals are 21- 12 as a Southland Conference member and 10-3 in Beaumont. Since rejoining the SLC in 1999-00, the Cardinals are 3-5 with a 2-1 mark in the Montagne Center.

14-Point Comeback Win Best Under Roc
Lamar's 14-point come-from-behind win over Utah Valley State on Tuesday marked the largest margin overcome to win a game under second-year coach Steve Roccaforte. The Cardinals trailed 60-46 with 12:33 to play before a 23-4 outburst propelled them to their fifth-consecutive home win. Since the 1999- 2000 season, it is the sixth-largest deficit a Lamar team has come back from and won the game.

Scouting UTSA
The Roadrunners enter the weekend with a 6-7 record. After starting the season 4-1, they have lost six of their last eight and are 0-6 on the road. Travis Gabbidon leads three players who average double-figures in scoring with his 14.2 ppg and is coming off a 31-point performance against UT-Pan American on Tuesday. Devin Gibson is scoring 11.8 ppg and Joey Shank adds 10.9 ppg. Shank ranks second in the Southland with 2.85 3-pointers made per contest.
As a team, UTSA averages 64.8 ppg on 42.5 percent shooting. They lead the SLC in steals with 9.69 spg, just ahead of Lamar's 9.62 spg. Like the Cardinals, the Roadrunners force their opponents into a lot of mistakes. UTSA's opposition is averaging 20 turnovers a contest while Lamar's are turning it over 19.8 times on average.

Who's It Going To Be Tonight?
Over the course of the season, nine different players have recorded at least one double-figure scoring game. That is the most of any Southland school and the eighth-most in the NCAA.
Wofford 11
Navy 10
Duquesne 10
SE Missouri State 10
Creighton 10
Lipscomb 10
Belmont 10
Lamar 9

Cardinal Glass Cleaning Company
One reason for the improved play over the last seven games has been Lamar's ability to attack the offensive glass and get second-chance opportunities. On the year, the Cardinals are fourth in the SLC with 13.8 offensive rebounds per game, but over the past seven contests are pulling down 15.7 a night. In the last four games, Lamar has outscored its opponents 50-18 in second-chance points.

The Magic Number is... 70
Lamar is 6-2 this season when scoring at least 70 points and 6-2 when holding its opponents under 70. The Cardinals are now 20-7 in two seasons under coach Steve Roccaforte when reaching the 70-point plateau.

Lamar In The NCAA Rankings
Lamar enters the UTSA contest ranked in the top 60 in three categories: scoring offense-37th, assists per game-60th and steals per game-43rd. Additionally, Kenny Dawkins ranks 42nd in free throw percentage at 86.4 pct.

Non-Conference Numbers Under Roccaforte
With the Southland season upon us we can report that Lamar is 12-15 in non-conference games under head coach Steve Roccaforte, with a 6-7 mark in 2007-08.

Close Ones
The Cardinals have lost seven games this season but four have been especially agonizing for the LU faithful. In losses to Wyoming (75-71), Oral Roberts (65- 57) and at Northern Illinois (65-63), Lamar was unable to maintain second-half leads in each contest. LU led Wyoming by 12 with 18:03 left and by 5 with 5:36 left; five days later against ORU the Cards had an 11-point lead in the first half and led 49-48 with 7:41 to play before being surrendering 11-consecutive points over the next 3:41; and after taking a 13-point lead on NIU with 16:54 remaining, LU was outscored 29-14 the rest of the way as the Huskies second-chance tip-in at the buzzer proved to be the difference. The Cardinals nearly pulled off a big upset last Tuesday at Texas Tech when the game was tied at 77 with 1:20 to play. But following a pair of Tech free throws with 22.5 seconds to play, Brandon McThay's 3-point attempt rimmed out as time expired.



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