Cardinals Prepare for Southland Newcomer, Abilene Christian

GO CARDINALS Lamar men travel to Abilene Christian.
Lamar men travel to Abilene Christian.

Jan. 21, 2014

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BEAUMONT, Texas - The Lamar Cardinals will close out their current four-game road swing this weekend with games at Southland newcomers Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word, and at the same time look to put an end to the current 14-game skid. Lamar (1-17/0-6 SLC) will face an ACU squad Thursday that is 7-11 (.389) overall and 1-3 (.250) in conference play, but coming off its first SLC victory in program history, a 73-72 decision against Central Arkansas Saturday.

Lamar is making its run through the list of conference newcomers having faced New Orleans last week, and will take on ACU, UIW and Houston Baptist over the course of the next three games. Although, ACU is not eligible for the conference tournament this season, they have put up some pretty strong results this season. Playing a tough non-conference schedule that consisted of Maryland, Iowa, TCU and Xavier, the Wildcats are coming of their first league victory and have taken two other league schools down to the wire. ACU dropped its league opener by six, 87-81, at New Orleans before dropping an eight-point decision in double overtime at Southeastern Louisiana. The overtime setback was only a week prior to their win over the Bears.

Thursday's contest would appear to be a battle of two evenly matched teams after a comparison of the numbers. The Wildcats have three players averaging in double figures, and are scoring 69.4 points per contest, while Lamar has four players in double digits and averaging just under 68 points. The Cardinals shoot the ball just a bit better from the field and from behind the arc, but the Wildcats have a slight advantage on the glass, and turn the ball over one fewer time per game than Lamar.

The Cardinals are led offensively by junior guard Nimrod Hilliard (15.1 ppg). The Madison, Wis. native has scored in double figures in all but one of Lamar's games this season, but Hilliard's numbers have dropped a bit since his career-high 29 at Northwestern State. Since that time, Hilliard has averaged less than 11 per game. Sophomore Rhon Mitchell and senior Amos Wilson have picked up their scoring over the course of the same stretch. Mitchell leads the team during that time averaging 12.5 points per game, while Wilson has added 11 per contest.

The Wildcats are led by juniors Harrison Hawkins and LaDarrien Williams. Both players are averaging 12.3 points per game, while Williams is also second on the team pulling down 5.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore Parker Wentz is also averaging just over 10 points per game.

Following the conclusion of Lamar's current four-game road swing, the schedule shifts into LU's favor with the majority of Lamar's travels out of the way. The Cardinals close the season with seven of the final 10 games at home in the Montagne Center.

Thursday's game against the Wildcats is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. from Moody Coliseum in Abilene.




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