League Leading SFA Comes to Town

GO CARDINALS Cardinals prepare for date versus Stephen F. Austin
Cardinals prepare for date versus Stephen F. Austin

Feb. 11, 2014

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BEAUMONT, Texas - The Lamar Cardinals' basketball team will step back on the court Thursday to face Southland Conference leader, Stephen F. Austin. The defending league champions enter the contest riding a 19-game win streak, and ranked third in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major Top 25 Poll. Lamar, will look to carry over some of the momentum from its second half performance at Sam Houston State where it shot nearly 60 percent from the floor, and hand SFA (22-2/11-0 SLC) its first conference loss of the season.

The Last Meeting
Stephen F. Austin85
January 2, 2014
Nacogdoches, Texas
`Jacks Use Second-Half Run to Get Win Over Lamar
After shooting nearly 60 percent in the opening half, Lamar struggled to a 4-of-19 (.211) effort in the second to fall to Stephen F. Austin (1-12/0-1 SLC), 85-65, Thursday night at the William R. Johnson Coliseum to open Southland Conference play. The loss drops Lamar to 1-12 on the season and 0-1 in conference play.

The Lumberjacks enter the game riding the Southland's longest win streak (19 games). SFA hasn't faced a setback since dropping an eight-point decision at East Tennessee State in late November.

The `Jacks are paced by five players in double figures, led by sophomore Jacob Parker. The Bixby, Okla. native has transformed himself into one of the league's most dominant scorers. Parker is ranked among the league's top 10 averaging better than 15 points per game. Senior Desmond Haymon, the squad's other returning starter from last season, is averaging 13.3 points per game.

Although SFA leads the Southland in scoring margin, the Lumberjacks hang their hat on defense. The `Jacks are allowing less than 62 points per game, ranked first in the conference holding opponents to less than 33 percent from beyond the arc and allowing opponents a league best 29.7 rebounds per game.

Led by junior Nimrod Hilliard, the Cardinals are averaging 65.5 points per game. Hilliard is averaging 14.1 points per game, but has seen his numbers fall since suffering an injury against McNeese State in the second week of the conference schedule.

Junior Donovan Ross and sophomore Rhon Mitchell are looking to continue their momentum from their last outing into Thursday's matchup. Mitchell scored 18 points, while Ross chipped in 17. For Mitchell it was his highest output since the second week of Southland play, and for Ross it was the most points he had scored since Lamar's win over Savannah State. The LU duo guided the Lamar offense to a 16-of-27 (.593) second-half performance.

Thursday's game also represents the annual Pink Out game to promote breast-cancer awareness and research. Fans are encouraged to wear pink. In addition, Thursday is Merchant Night, with local businesses having the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets. It's also Part II of the Student Organization Challenge, with LU student groups competing for cash prizes based on their attendance and creativity in the "Pink Out" theme.

The Cardinals will step on the court 30 minutes following the conclusion of the Lady Cardinals game against SFA. The LU women's game is set to tip off at 5:30 p.m. from the Montagne Center.




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