Lamar welcomes UCA in must-win game
Feb. 27, 2013
BEAUMONT - If Lamar University is to defend its Southland Conference Tournament title in less than three weeks, the Cardinals will have to start with a win Thursday evening when Central Arkansas visits the Montagne Center for a men's basketball contest.
The top eight teams at the end of the regular season qualify for a spot at the conference tournament to be held March 13-16 at the Merrell Center in Katy. Lamar currently sits 10th in the league standings at 1-13 with four games to play. The Bears (10-16 overall, 4-11 in the Southland) are eighth and are the only team that Lamar can still catch.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the game will begin 30 minutes after the women's contest. Thursday's contest can be heard live in Beaumont on KLVI 560 AM with Dave Hofferth providing the play-by-play, and will be streamed live on ESPN3 with Lyn Rollins handling play-by-play and Jim Haller adding analysis.
A year ago, Lamar won its last three regular season games and then rolled to the conference tournament title to earn the Southland's automatic NCAA Tournament spot. Lamar (3-24 overall) will need a similar finish to the regular season this year for a chance to repeat.
Lamar is meeting Central Arkansas for the second time this season with the Bears winning the first battle 88-59 in Conway on Jan. 26 for their first ever win in the series. This will be the 12th meeting between the two schools with the Cardinals holding a commanding 10-1 series advantage. Lamar, which won the first ever meeting 62-50 in the Montagne Center on Jan. 18, 2007, leads the series 5-0 in Beaumont.
In the first game between the two schools this season, UCA jumped on top early behind its strong first half 3-point shooting. The Bears connected on 8-of-17 from beyond the arc in the first half in building a 52-29 lead at the break.
Lamar, which committed 25 turnovers in the game directly resulting in 34 UCA points, would pull no closer the rest of the way. The Cards finished just 18-of-56 from the floor, but were a solid 3-of-6 from 3-point range and 20-of-26 from the free throw line.
Only one Cardinal scored in double-figures and that was sophomore Brennan Doty off the bench with 10 points. Donley Minor finished with nine points and seven rebounds and Amos Wilson added eight points and eight boards.
Four Bears scored at least 10 with LaQuentin Miles finishing with a game-high 12 points. Senior center Anthony Borden recorded seven points, a team-high eight rebounds and six of UCA's 10 blocked shots in the game. Robert Crawford, Ryan Williams and Zach Padgett had 10 points apiece.
Lamar will be facing one of the top offenses in the Southland as the Bears come in averaging nearly 76 points per game. Working in the Cardinals' favor is the fact that UCA also allows over 78 points per game to rank last in the conference in scoring defense.
As in their win over Lamar, the Bears look to do much of their damage from beyond the 3-point arc. UCA leads the conference in makes per game at 7.0 and its 34.3 percent shooting from long-range is second-best in the Southland.
The Cardinals, who are now second in the league in free throw percentage at 69.7, are averaging 58.4 points per game offensively. Lamar also ranks third in the conference in blocked shots at 4.2 per game.
Wilson has been playing well for the Cards of late, scoring in double-figures in three of his last four games. The junior forward is coming off a 19-point effort against Texas State on Saturday and has upped his season averages to 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Senior Stan Brown is posting career-best averages of 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game to pace the Cardinals in both categories. Brown registered his third double-double of the year in Saturday's 74-61 loss to the Bobcats with 16 points and a career-high tying 14 rebounds.
Senior forward Jarvis Garner leads a trio of Bears averaging double-figures at 15.6 points per game. Garner also leads the team and ranks eighth in the conference in rebounding at 6.5 per game and is hitting nearly two 3-pointers per game to rank third in the conference.
Miles is just behind Garner at 15.1 points per game, adding 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Crawford, a senior guard, is putting up 14.2 points per game and his 2.8 3-pointers per game leads the Southland Conference.
For ticket information, call (409) 880-1715, or visit http://www.lamarcardinals.com/tickets/mhoops-tickets.html.