Lamar Heads To San Antonio With 3-Game Winning Streak

GO CARDINALS Steve Roccaforte has 49 career wins entering Saturday's UTSA contest.
Steve Roccaforte has 49 career wins entering Saturday's UTSA contest.

Feb. 27, 2009

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Needing a win to start one of its toughest stretches of the season Wednesday night, Lamar played picture-perfect defense and got a career night offensively from Anthony Miles to defeat UTA and move into seventh place in the SLC standings. The Cardinals travel to San Antonio with an opportunity to pull even with sixth-place UTSA. Lamar's final three games are at UTSA (7-6), at A&M-Corpus Christi (9-4) and at home vs. Nicholls State (9-4).

Lamar-UTSA Series History

Tonight marks the 28th all-time meeting with UTSA. The Cardinals lead the series 16-11 overall and 8-6 in San Antonio. Prior to UTSA's win on a tip-in at the buzzer last month, the Cardinals had won six-consecutive after dropping 10 of the previous 11. That stretch followed the first nine games in the teams' history in which LU came out on top in every game.

About UTSA

UTSA is 16-10 this year and one game ahead of Lamar in the SLC West Division at 7-6. It can clinch a berth in the SLC Tournament with a win combined with a loss by either McNeese State or Texas State. The Roadrunners have gone 3-4 since their win over the Cardinals in Beaumont on Jan. 31. UTSA is 10-2 at the Convocation Center this season and has won 12 of the last 16 games in the facility dating back to last February

Travis Gabbidon leads the team with 13.3 points per game, with a 14.9 average in home games. He also averages a team-high 6.4 rebounds and has four double-doubles. Omar Johnson averages 12.8 points and 4.3 assists, while Devin Gibson - last year's SLC Freshman of the Year - is adding 11.6 points, 3.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds and is the NCAA steals leader with 3.52 thefts per game.

A total of four players have made at least 25 3-pointers. UTSA leads the SLC and ranks 13th nationally with 8.8 treys per game. They are also fourth in the NCAA in steals per game (10.1) and ninth in turnover margin (+4.7).

Brooks Thompson is in his third season in San Antonio and has fashioned a 36-49 mark.

What Lies Ahead

Lamar enters the final three games of the regular-season alone in seventh place with McNeese State and Texas State one game back and tied for eighth. The chart below shows who each of those teams has left on its schedule leading up to next Saturday's final games.

	Lamar	McNeese	Texas State
2/28	at UTSA	at Nicholls	NW State
3/4	at A&MCC	SE La.	UTSA
3/7	Nicholls	at UCA	at SHSU

Lamar Defense On Fire During Current Win Streak

During its current 3-game winning streak, lamar is holding its opponents to 35 percent shooting and 26 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Lamar held Sam Houston to 39 pct - its lowest in a loss all season, limited NW State to 34 pct and held UTA to a 33 pct. - its lowest all year by seven pct.

Anthony Miles Steadily Improving At Point Guard

With the groin injury to Kenny Dawkins, freshman Anthony Miles has steadily gotten more comfortable running the Lamar offense. Since moving into the starting role three games ago, he has been lamar's leading at 16.7 points per game, while grabbing 5.7 rebounds and handing out 3.0 assists. He led the Cardinals in scoring at Sam Houston last Wednesday with 15 points and had his coming-out party against UTA this past Wednesday with career-highs in points (24), field goals made (11), steals (2) and minutes (40). His 40 minutes were 11 more than his previous high of 29 against both Sam Houston and NW State in the previous two games.

Cards Break Out of Shooting Funk In Big Way

Entering last Saturday's game with Northwestern State, Lamar had shot under 40 pct. in five-consecutive games. The Cardinals came out on fire and set a new season-high of .563 pct. In fact, that is the sixth-highest in an SLC game in the Steve Roccaforte-era.

In its last five halves (dating back to the second half of the Sam Houston game), Lamar has shot 67-of-133 for 50.4 pct.

Welcome Back Jay Brown

Jay Brown broke out of a funk in a big way last Saturday, scoring a game-high 22 points on 7-of-8 shooting while grabbing 10 rebounds off the bench. He leads the SLC in double-doubles with nine - including six in 12 SLC games. He is averaging 13.2 points and 9.2 rebs overall and 13.6 points and 9.4 rebs in SLC play.

	Pts.	Rebs.	Opponent
	22 	18	at Rice (11-25-08)
	15	13	vs. Huston-Tillotson (12-20-08)
	11	12	vs. St. Gregory's  (12-29-08)
	12	12	vs. Southeastern La. (1-10-09)
	13	13	at McNeese State (1-7-09)
	16	10	at Texas State (1-24-09)
	16	11	at Central Arkansas (2-4-09)
	14	11	vs. Texas State (2-14-09)
	22	10	vs. Northwestern State (2-21-09)

Seven Turnovers At SHSU Lowest In Roc Era

Lamar committed a season-low seven turnovers at Sam Houston last Wednesday, including just three in the first half. The seven miscues are the lowest in two-plus seasons under Steve Roccaforte, besting the eight at Nicholls State on March 1, 2007 and at Louisiana-Lafayette earlier this season.

Miles and Hall Lead Charge In SHSU Victory

Junior G/F Ashton Hall and freshman G Anthony Miles certainly stepped up on Wednesday in helping Lamar snap its three-game losing streak. Hall, who had dominating performances in Johnson Coliseum in a pair of HS regionals en route to 2A state titles in 2004 and 2005, finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. He also grabbed the defensive rebound with 2.7 seconds left on a potential game-tying free throw and then made two free throws to account for the final margin.

Miles led the Cardinals with 15 points, four boards, four assists and zero turnovers in 29 minutes. He missed his season-high in points, field goals and assists by one in each category.



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