Lamar welcomes ORU for senior night
March 1, 2013
BEAUMONT - Lamar University will look to close out its 2012-13 home men's basketball schedule in style Saturday evening as the Cardinals welcome Southland Conference rival Oral Roberts to the Montagne Center on senior night.
Not only will Lamar be recognizing its three-man senior class, but the university will also be hosting a tribute to Jimmy and Susan Simmons. Lamar will present a "Standing Ovation for Jimmy and Susan Simmons" to honor the Lamar University president and first lady for their leadership roles in the growth and success of the university. Dr. Simmons is returning to the faculty this year after 14 years as president and 43 years of service to Lamar.
Highlights of the celebration include special recognitions during halftime and a celebration on the arena floor after the game, giving students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends a special opportunity to say "thank you." Tickets to the game will be available for as little as $1. For more information, call (409) 880-1715, or visit http://www.lamarcardinals.com/tickets/mhoops-tickets.html.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will begin 30 minutes after the women's contest. Saturday's contest can be heard live in Beaumont on KLVI 560 AM with Dave Hofferth providing the play-by-play.
Lamar's three seniors will be playing their final game in the Montagne Center this evening. Four-year letterwinners Stan Brown and Donley Minor and two-year letterwinner Nikko Acosta will be saying goodbye to the home fans Saturday.
Brown is currently the Cardinals' leading scorer and rebounder at 11.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. A native of Dolton, Ill., Brown has scored 641 career points and pulled down 491 career rebounds in 112 games. Brown has six career double-doubles, including four this year, and has posted career-highs with 28 points against Northwestern State and 14 rebounds against both the Demons and Texas State.
Minor is currently third on the team in scoring at 9.0 points per game and his 3.7 assists per game lead the team and rank fifth in the conference. A 6-foot guard from Los Angeles, Minor has scored 615 career points, handed out 202 assists and made 85 career 3-pointers in 122 games. Earlier this season, Minor set his career-high with 22 points in LU's win over IUPUI.
Acosta came to Lamar from Gulf Coast Community College and is finishing his second season. As a senior, Acosta is posting 3.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, and is third on the team with 16 blocked shots. A native of New London, Conn., Acosta scored a career-high 10 points at Virginia and matched that total Thursday against Central Arkansas. Acosta pulled down a personal-best 11 rebounds against rival McNeese State and has 123 points and 111 rebounds in 61 career games.
The Cardinals, who are coming off a heartbreaking 106-99 double overtime loss to Central Arkansas on Thursday, have been mathematically eliminated from a return trip to the Southland Conference Tournament to defend their 2012 title. The loss dropped Lamar to 3-25 overall and 1-14 in Southland play.
Six Cardinals scored in double-figures Thursday evening with redshirt freshman Rhon Mitchell scoring a career-high 25 points and junior forward Amos Wilson adding 19. Brown notched his second straight double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
This will be the 16th meeting between the two schools and second this season with the Golden Eagles holding an 11-4 series advantage. ORU (17-12 overall, 12-4 in the Southland) won this season's first meeting 91-74 at home on Jan. 24, and holds a 4-2 advantage in games played in Beaumont. The Cardinals won the first ever meeting 120-106 on Jan. 26, 1970, in McDonald Gym.
After leading 37-29 at the half of this year's first meeting, ORU shot 55.9 percent from the field in the second half, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range. The Golden Eagles hit 10-of-11 from the free throw line in the second half to seal the win.
Keilan Blanks scored a career-high 25 points on just 14 field goal attempts. Blanks, who is out with an injury this time around, was 5-of-7 from 3-point range and also dished out four assists. Fellow freshman Donnell Minton finished with 17 points and Brown added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and led the Cardinals with seven rebounds.
Warren Niles poured in 33 points to pace ORU, while Shawn Glover added 24 points and nine rebounds and Damen Bell-Holter finished with 15 points and eight boards.
Lamar will be facing the best shooting team in the Southland Conference on Saturday evening. ORU, which is scoring just over 70 points per game, is second in the conference in field goal percentage (.463) and first in 3-point (.367) and free throw (.746) shooting.
The Cardinals are scoring nearly 60 points a game and are second to ORU from the free throw line at 69.8 percent. Lamar also ranks among the top half of the league in rebounding at 37.1 per game and blocked shots with 4.3 per contest.
Niles leads a trio of Golden Eagles who rank among the top 10 in the Southland in scoring average at 18.8 points per game which is good enough for second. Niles is shooting 79.3 percent from the free throw line, 40.9 percent from 3-point range and is second in the conference in 3-pointers per game at 2.7.
Bell-Holter is third in the conference in scoring average at 16.0 points per game and leads the league with 9.6 rebounds per game. In 16 conference games, Bell-Holter is posting averages of 19.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Glover, a transfer from Utah, is adding 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per outing.