Lamar Returns Home For Lone Meeting With Sam Houston State



Jan. 18, 2008

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Following Thursday's tough loss at Stephen F. Austin, Lamar returns home to the Montagne Center for a Saturday night tilt against Sam Houston State. The Cardinals are 7-2 at home this season and have won six consecutive. SHSU is 5-1 on the road, including Thursday's league win at McNeese State. The first 650 fans will receive a shooter shirt courtesy of Five Point Credit Union.

Lamar-Sam Houston Series History
This will be the 48th meeting between Lamar and Sam Houston with the Cardinals holding a 26-21 all-time series advantage. Lamar is 18-6 in games played in Beaumont, 7-14 in Huntsville and 1-1 on a neutral court. The schools split a pair of games last season, with the Bearkats taking the regular-season contest 88-52 in Huntsville and the Cardinals pulling the upset, 99-98, in the opening round of the SLC Tournament at the Campbell Center in Houston. The Bearkats have won seven of the last nine meetings, including five straight before last year's SLC Tourney. Prior to that, Lamar's last win in the series was 89-80 on Jan. 10, 2004 in Beaumont. Since returning to the SLC, Lamar is 6-10 vs. Sam Houston.

Scouting Sam Houston
Sam Houston State enters Saturday's game with a 14-2 overall record and a 2-1 mark in the Southland action. The Bearkats opened the season with 10-consecutive victories before losing at San Diego State in overtime on Dec. 28. The 12-1 non-conference record is SHSU's best Division I result in school history.
Seniors Ryan Bright and Shamir McDaniel lead a very experienced Bearkat attack. Bright is averaging 10.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. He ranks fourth all-time at SHSU in career rebounds (803). He leads the Southland and ranks 3rd nationally in boards per game. McDaniel leads the Bearkats in scoring with 12.9 ppg and ranks third in the SLC in three point shooting (38-of-88, .432).
As a team, SHSU averages 70.0 ppg on 43.5 percent shooting. They rank first or second in the SLC in nine of the 19 team categories, including first in field goal defense (.362), 3-point field goal defense (.271), rebound margin (plus-8.3), assists (18.6 apg) and assists-to-turnover ratio (1.08).

Cards Turning Into A Second-Half Team
While head coach Steve Roccaforte has preached to his players that they need to play 40 minutes every game, it might be comforting to the second-year coach to know that his halftime adjustments and encouraging words are having a positive effect on his troops. In the last three games, Lamar has shot 43 percent from the floor and 31 percent from outside in the first half, compared to 58 percent and 53 percent from those locations in the second half. The Cardinals are also averaging 14 more points (45.5 to 31.3) in the second 20-minute period than the first.

Sanders' .645 FG Pct Ranks Seventh In The Nation... Sort Of
Senior F Lamar Sanders ranks second in the Southland in FG pct with a .645 clip. While his season figures of 71-for-110 register with the SLC leaders, he is three made baskets shy of qualifying for the NCAA Division I leaders list - of which he would rank seventh entering the SHSU contest.

Sanders Named SLC Player of the Week
The senior from Hickory Flat, Miss., was named the Southland Conference Player of the Week after leading Lamar to a pair of victories while averaging 16.5 points (on 15-of-19 shooting for a .789 FG pct.) and 6.5 boards. He posted a season-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with five rebounds, four assists and four steals in the come-from-behind win over Utah Valley State and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor against UTSA in the conference-opener as he finished with 15 points, a team-high eight rebounds and a pair of steals. This marks the second time in his two-year career at Lamar that he has earned the honor. he shared POW plaudits with Kevin Menifee of A&M-CC the last week of the regular-season a year ago.

Barrow Goes For 35 In Last Three Games
In the last few weeks, senior G Matthew Barrow has started to get the shooting stroke back that saw him make 85 3-pointers in his first two seasons at Lamar. Prior to his 7-point game at SFA Thursday, he had posted three-consecutive double-figure scoring games, including back-to-back season-high 14-point efforts last week in games he started in place of the injured Brandon McThay. In the last four games he has averaged 11.5 points and made 8-of-23 (.348) shots from outside. For his career, he now has 107 3-pointers and is currently 19 away from cracking the Lamar career top-10 list.

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.

11, Wofford
10, Belmont, Creighton, Duquesne, Lipscomb, Navy, SW Missouri State
9, Lamar

Cardinal Glass Cleaning Company
One reason for the improved play over the last few weeks has been Lamar's ability to attack the offensive glass and get second-chance opportunities. On the year, the Cardinals are fifth in the SLC with 13.0 offensive rebounds per game, but over the past eight contests are pulling down 14.5 a night. In the last five games, Lamar has outscored its opponents 59-22 in second-chance points.

The Magic Number is... 70
Lamar is 6-4 this season when scoring at least 70 points and 7-2 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 SHSU contest ranked in the top 60 in three categories: scoring offense-38th, assists per game-49th and steals per game-24th. Additionally, Kenny Dawkins ranks 31st in free throw percentage at 86.3 pct. and Lamar Sanders is 98th in steal per game at 1.9.



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