Feb. 13, 2009
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Lamar returns home from its three-game road trip looking for its fourth SLC victory and some momentum as the home stretch of the 2009 conference race picks up. The Cardinals will be facing Texas State for the second time this season and will face all five SLC West Division over the next six games before finishing with Nicholls State on Feb. 7.
Lamar-Texas State Series History
This will be the 50th meeting between Lamar and Texas State with the Cardinals holding a 27-22 all-time series lead. Lamar is 16-8 in Beaumont, 10-14 in San Marcos and 1-0 on a neutral floor.
Prior to this season the teams had met just once each of the past two seasons due to the divisional alignments, and Lamar has won both games - 96-69 in Beaumont and 101-90 in San Marcos last year. Lamar swept the season series in 2005-06, winning 83-58 on Jan. 7, 2006 in San Marcos and 83-71 on Feb. 8, 2006 in Beaumont. Following Lamar's 71-65 win in San Marcos last month, the Cardinals have won seven of the last eight meetings in the series. Their lone loss came in overtime in 2004 in a game that Alan Daniels missed a 15-foot baseline jumper at the end of regulation. Since returning to the SLC, Lamar is 11-8 vs. Texas State.
About Texas State
Texas State enters the weekend with an 10-13 record and a half-game behind Lamar in the Southland Conference West Division with a 3-7 record. Since reeling off five-consecutive victories, which included an SLC-opening win over UTA, the Bobcats have gone 2-7 and enter Saturday riding a two-game losing streak.
Brent Benson leads Texas State with 15.2 points per game and 71 3-pointers, which leads the Southland Conference. Brandon Bush is averaging 15.0 points per game and leads the Bobcats with 6.7 rpg, while Cameron Johnson is posting 10.7 ppg, John Rybak averages 10.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg, while Corey Jefferson posts 6.0 ppg and Ty Gough adds 5.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg.
Texas State leads the Southland in overall scoring (83.3 ppg) and is second in 3-point FG pct. (.370). They are also third with 7.8 3-pointers per game, while Lamar is seventh at 5.7 In 10 league games TSU-SM is averaging 74.1 points while allowing a league-high 79.3. The Bobcats rank 11th in the SLC in FG defense, allowing their 10 conference opponents to connect on 46 percent of their shots.
Doug Davalos is in his third season in San Marcos and has fashioned a 32-49 mark and 104-84 in seven years as a college head coach.
Feeling the Love
Lamar is playing on Valentine's Day for the 17th time in school history and the second-consecutive year - something that has never happened before. Lamar is 8-8 all-time on Feb. 14 following last year's 80-66 win over UTA. Probably the most memorable game played on this date was in 1967 when the Cards dropped a 138-135 triple OT decision at UTA. The game was the first of five 3-OT games in school history and the only one Lamar lost.
ESPN Makes Historic Visit To Beaumont
Saturday's broadcast on ESPNU is the first regular-season game by the ESPN family of networks from a Southland Conference arena in league history. Lamar's last appearance on the Worldwide Leader came in the 2000 SLC Tournament Championship in Shreveport, La.
Lamar Hoping To Solve Shooting Woes
Lamar has shot below 40 percent in each of its last three games for the first time all season, including Monday's 32 pct. effort which was a season low. But the Cardinals will be back home Saturday where they make nearly 50 pct. of their attempts compared to 39 pct. away from the Montagne Center.
3-Point Shooting Should Climb With Home Game
Lamar's 3-point shooting has struggled to find consistency this season, unless you are strictly looking at home games. In their 10 contests at the Montagne Center, the Cardinals are making 36 pct. of their shots from outside and 7.0 per game. The numbers in 13 games away from home reveal 27.1 pct. shooting and just 4.6 makes per outing.
Rebounding Has Been A Strength For Lamar
Despite being limited in terms of depth down low, Lamar has gotten solid production on the glass from its entire roster. The Cardinals are averaging 37.5 rebounds per game and have topped 40 eight times. LU has also held the edge on the glass 15 times, while being outrebounded by more than five just three times. Lamar's rebound margin of plus-3.0 ranks third in the Southland, just behind McNeese State at 4.6 and Texas State at 3.6.
Lamar is 12-0 when leading at the half, 0-10 when trailing and 0-1 when tied at the break. The loss that came when the score was tied was against Indiana State. The Cardinals have trailed at the half in all six of their SLC losses - by six at UTA, by seven at McNeese, by 12 vs. A&M Corpus Christi, by nine against Sam Houston State, by one vs. UTSA and by six at SFA.
Brandon McThay Returning To Form
Senior G Brandon McThay has averaged 13.8 points over the last five games with four double-figure games and a team-high 22 points against Sam Houston State on 5-of-10 shooting an 10-of-10 from the FT line. He went 3-for-5 from outside against Utah Valley on Monday for nine points.
Junior G/F Ashton Hall is emerging as the scoring threat that many Lamar supporters saw during his prep career at Kountze HS. Prior to a five-point game last Wednesday, he had posted five-consecutive double-figure scoring games, including a career best 18 against UTSA last Saturday. His aggressiveness allowed him to set career-highs from the free throw line with a 7-for-10 performance at Texas State three weeks ago.
He has averaged 12.3 ppg in the last seven outings and raised his season average to 8.1 ppg.
His rebounding has improved as well over the last seven games. Not only has he posted season-highs of seven boards twice in that stretch, he has averaged 4.8 rpg over the last seven and grabbed 15 offensive boards.
Brown Leads SLC In Double-Doubles
Jay Brown leads the SLC in double-doubles with seven - including four in six SLC games. Along with SFA's Matt Kingsley and Texas State's Cameron Johnson, the trio are the only players with multiple double-doubles in league play.
He is averaging 13.5 points and 9.7 rebs through 23 games and 13.3 points and 9.8 rebs in SLC play.
Dawkins 11th in NCAA in FT
Kenny Dawkins now ranks eleventh in the nation in FT pct, at .891. He has gone 84-for-95 this year. Twice this season he has strung together lengthy streaks of consecutive makes - making 17 and 31-straight. Matt Sundblad holds the school-record at 40 straight.
For his career, he has gone 183-for-214 for a .859 pct., which places him behind only Sundblad's school-record .868 FT pct.
LU In The NCAA Stats
Entering the weekend, Lamar ranks among the top 100 in six categories: 40th in scoring offense, 29th in free throw pct., 84th in rebound margin, 65th in assists per game, 97th in assist-to-turnover ratio and 85th in blocks per game.
Individually, Kenny Dawkins is ranked eleventh in FT Pct. and 89th in steals per game, while Jay Brown is ranked 20th in rebounds per game and 27th in blocks per game.