Lamar Cagers Return Home To Face Texas State

GO CARDINALS Steve roccaforte has won 59 games in his time at Lamar.
Steve roccaforte has won 59 games in his time at Lamar.

Jan. 22, 2010

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** Lamar returns home following a 81-64 road loss to A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday. The Cardinals are 10-1 at home this year and have won six consecutive. LU has also won six of its last nine games overall.

** In four seasons under coach Steve Roccaforte, Lamar is 44-11 (.800) at home overall and 19-7 (.731) in SLC home contests, including an 8-0 mark in 2007-08.

** Lamar is 8-2 this season when scoring at least 74 points, 8-1 when leading at the half, 8-2 when shooting better from the floor and 8-1 when blocking more shots than the opposition.

** Prior to falling behind at the half and losing to A&M-CC on Wedensday, the Cards had won their last two games when trailing at the half (UTA and McNeese). Prior to the win over UTA, LU had lost 21-straight when down at the break. They are 2-8 when trailing at the break this year and 8-1 when leading.

** Lamar ranks second in the SLC in free throw attempts per game at 26.4 and TXST is first at 27.6.

** The Cardinals rank first in the SLC in rebound margin at 6.2 and the Bobcats are sixth at 3.2.

** LU is in the midst of a stretch where, beginning with the La. College game (Dec. 9), it will play 12 of 16 games at home and 15 of its final 23 in Beaumont.

Key Player Updates

Anthony Miles - G
Leads the team in scoring (13.9), assists (3.5), steals (1.4), minutes (34.3), 3-point FG pct. (.423), 3-pointers made (1.2), 3-pointers attempted (2.7), FT made (4.4) and FT attempts (5.8). He and UTA's Marquez Haynes are the only players in the SLC to rank among the top 10 in scoring and assists, while Miles also appears among the leaders in 3-point pct. and minutes.

Miles has scored in double figures 14 times and has four 20-plus point games. He scored 25 points in the win over McNeese last Saturday after just 16 in the three previous games. He has gone 3-for-6 from outside in the last two games after an 0-for-7 stretch in the previous four contests. He also has three double-doubles this year and five in his career.

Justin Nabors - F
Leads the SLC and ranks 28th in the NCAA in rebounds (9.9), while leading LU in FG pct. (.518), FG made (5.3), FG attempts (10.2), while ranking second in scoring (13.7) and blocked shots (0.8). Has scored in double figures 14 times, 11-straight and 13 of the last 15. Has posted four of his SLC-leading eight double-doubles in the last six games and is averaging 17.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg in SLC play.

He is two rebounds shy of being one of 24 players in the country to average a double-double.

Kendrick Harris - G
Third on the team in scoring (11.7), second in assists (2.6), steals (1.2) and minutes (31.9). He has produced 10 double-figure scoring games, including eight of the last 11. Currently averaging 13.1 ppg in the last 11 contests.

Has gone 5-for-9 (.555) from 3-point range in the past three games, after just 7-for-42 (.167) in the previous 16. Tied his season-high with three steals at AMCC on Wednesday.

Series History

This will be the 51st meeting between Lamar and Texas State with the Cardinals holding a 27-23 all-time series lead. Lamar is 16-9 in Beaumont, 10-14 in San Marcos and 1-0 on a neutral floor.

The teams split their two games a year ago, with each school claiming a road victory. The Cardinals have won seven of the last nine in the series. Since returning to the SLC, Lamar is 11-9 vs. Texas State. Before last season's loss at the Montagne Center, the Cards had won five straight in Beaumont.

The current LU squad has a limited experience playing against Texas State. Coy Custer has only played in the two games last season and combied for eight points in 20 total minutes; Charlie Harper scored four points and grabbed six rebounds in two games a year ago; Anthony Miles played a combined 14 minutes in two games with one point; Justin Nabors and Lawrence Nwevo were both injured last season so their competition against the Bobcats is more dated - Nabors had 11 points in 26 minutes off the bench in the win on Feb. 16, 2008 in San Marcos, while Nwevo, who has played in two games against TXST, scored all eight of his points as a sophomore starter in the 27-point LU win on Feb. 10-2007.

About Texas State

Texas State enters Saturday's game with a 8-10 mark and a 2-2 record in the Southland Conference. The Bobcats have lost two of their last three games, after a four-game winning streak. TSU is coming off a 95-64 loss at Sam Houston State on Wednesday in which it was outscored 36-22 in the paint and committed 21 turnovers that led to 32 Bearkat points.

Texas State returns six lettermen and two starters from a team that finished 14-16 overall and 7-9 in SLC in 2008-09.

Cameron Johnson is the only Bobcat to average double figures in scoring, totalling 11.6, followed closely by John Rybak at 9.8 points per game. Johnson leads the team with a 7.9 rebounds per game, while Rybak's 37 3-pointers are eighth in the SLC. Five other players do average at least 6.4 points per contest.

Fans may recognize sophomore Brooks Ybarra in the arena but will see him at the other end of the court. He was a walk-on guard for the Cardinals last season and appeared in nine?games. He has seen action in four games this year for the Bobcats.

The Bobcats love to push the ball and play physical. They are averaging 75.9 points a night, 7.4 3-pointers and lead the SLC in free throw attempts with 21.6. Their opponents get to the line their fair share of the time as well, averaging 31.5 attempts.

Doug Davalos is in his fourth season at Texas State and has compiled 44-62 mark in San Marcos and a 116-97 career ledger in eight seasons as a head coach.

Trends To Watch For

Lamar and Texas State are the leading free throw shooting teams in the SLC, averaging 26.4 and 27.6 FT attempts per game.

Along those same lines, Texas State's 18 games have seen an average of 48.7 fouls called, compared to 40.9 in LU's 19 contests.

The Bobcats are averaging 9.5 steals per game, while Lamar has committed just 12.8 turnovers in its last four games at home, including an SLC-best six last Saturday.

SLC Log-Jam Early On

While the Southland Conference regular-season race is still in the early stages of the 16-game schedule, things are already starting to get exciting and tight.Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State are still undefeated but have a host of schools on their tails. UTSA is alone in third place at 2-1, followed by five teams - Lamar, Nicholls, Southeastern La., Stephen F. Austin and Texas State - all locked up at 2-2. McNeese State is in ninth at 1-3, with Central Arkansas and UT?Arlington at 1-3 and Northwestern State in last place with an 0-3 record. The top eight teams will qualify for the State Farm Southland Conference Tournament, held March 10-13 at the Merrell Center in Katy.

Lamar is one of six teams with a winning overall record as four of those reside in the West Division.

Like A Good Nabors

Senior Justin Nabors is averaging 13.7 points and 9.9 rebounds, while recording an SLC-high eight double-doubles and nine double-digit rebound games. He has missed an additional two double-doubles by just one rebound as well. In four conference games, the Holly Springs, Miss. native is putting up 17.5 points and 10.5 boards per contest. He is shooting 56.5 pct. in league play.

He has scored 586 points for a 12.2 career scoring average. He also has 374 rebounds to put his board averages at 7.8 rpg, which is on pace to finish among the school's top-15.

Lamar In The NCAA Stats

In the most recent NCAA statistics that were released on Tuesday, Lamar is ranked in the top half of the country in five team categories. LU is 22nd in rebound margin (+6.8), 84th in blocked shots (4.3), 116th in assists (14.1), 112th in 3-point FG defense (.326) and 157th in free throw pct. (68.9).

Individually, Justin Nabors is 28th in rebounds (9.9) and 83rd in field goal pct. (50.6), Charlie Harper is 133rd in rebounding (7.7), Coy Custer is 94th in blocked shots (1.7) and Anthony Miles is 233rd in assists (3.4).



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