A&M-Corpus Christi visits the Montagne Center on Saturday
Jan. 11, 2013
BEAUMONT - Lamar University will go in search of its first Southland Conference basketball victory Saturday evening at 6 p.m. when the Cardinals host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the Montagne Center.
The Cardinals are playing their third straight home contest following Thursday's 68-57 loss to Sam Houston State. The loss dropped the Cards to 2-14 on the year and 0-4 in league play. The Islanders opened the 2012-13 season with a 60-49 win over Texas Lutheran but have since lost 12 straight, including all three Southland games.
Saturday is Elementary Appreciation Night, with free admission for all students in fifth grade or below with a proper ID or school T-shirt. The game will be broadcast live on KLVI 560 AM with Dave Hofferth handling the play-by-play and will be streamed live on Lamar's Athletic web site at www.LamarCardinals.com/allaccess.
This will be the 20th meeting between the two schools since 1951-52 when Lamar became a four-year institution. The Cardinals, who won the only meeting last year, hold a 15-4 series advantage. Lamar won 74-58 in Corpus Christi last season and the Cardinals hold a 9-2 series advantage in Beaumont.
Last year's matchup served as the conference opener for both schools. Lamar shot 53.3 percent from the floor in the first half in building a 39-29 lead at the break. Despite struggling some in the second half, Lamar's lead never fell below seven points.
Guard Mike James had one of his best performances in a Lamar uniform, finishing with 31 points on 12-of-16 shooting. He was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and had three of LU's 10 steals. Current senior Stan Brown led LU with seven rebounds.
The Islanders got 15 points from Chris Hawkins-Mast, 13 from Johnathan Jordan and nine points and 10 boards from Myron Dempsey.
Three Cardinals scored in double-figures in Thursday's loss to the Bearkats with junior forward Amos Wilson posting 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Freshman Keilan Blanks came off the bench to register 11 points and four assists and Donley Minor added 10 points.
The Cardinals and Islanders have both struggled this season due in large part to their respective offensive deficiencies. Lamar is averaging 58.2 points per game and AMCC is not much better at 59.6. The Islanders are last in the Southland in shooting at 37.9 percent.
Both teams are solid at the free throw line with Lamar hitting 67.8 percent as a team and the Islanders making 70.8 to rank among the top three in the league.
Lamar is led in scoring by redshirt freshman Rhon Mitchell at 10.7 points per game. The forward is also grabbing 4.6 rebounds per game. Senior forward Stan Brown is posting 9.7 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game.
Wilson, who is averaging 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds over the Cards' last five games, leads the team in steals with 1.5 per game to go along with 8.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. Minor is adding 8.6 points and a team-best 2.9 assists per outing.
Junior forward Will Nelson leads the Islanders in scoring and rebounding with averages of 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Nelson posted 24 points and nine rebounds Thursday at McNeese State. Jordan, who had 17 points and nine assists against the Cowboys, is adding 12.3 points and 4.5 assists per game. Sophomore center Nate Maxey is second in the conference in blocked shots at 2.1 per contest.