March 3, 2009
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Lamar enters the final week of the regular-season in a tie for seventh place with Texas State at 6-8. Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State are also still in the hunt for an SLC Tournament berth at 5-9, but one of those teams will be eliminated after Wednesday's head-to-head match-up in Lake Charles.
Lamar can finish anywhere from seventh to tenth depending on how things shake down over the next two games. The Cardinals can clinch a spot in the tournament as early as Wednesday with a win in Corpus Christi and a Southeastern La. victory over McNeese. If any other combination occurs, it will come down to Saturday's Senior Night contest against Nicholls State.
Lamar-A&M-CC Series History
This will be the 15th meeting between Lamar and TAMU-Corpus Christi with the Cardinals holding a 13-1 all-time series advantage. The majority of the games were played between 1954-72 when the Islanders were known as Corpus Christi University. Lamar is 8-1 in games played in Beaumont and 5-0 in Corpus Christi.
The Islanders won the first game this season, 89-71 on Jan. 21, when they snapped Lamar's 20-game home court winning streak. A&MCC shot a then-season-high 55 percent from the floor and were 8-of-15 from outside for a season-best .533 pct. Kevin palmer led four Islanders in double-figures with 23 points. Kenny Dawkins had 17 for Lamar, and Jay Brown added 12 and a school-record-tying nine blocks.
About A&M-Corpus Christi
A&M-Corpus Christi enters Wednesday's game with a 15-14 overall record and sits in a fourth-place tie with UTA at 9-5. The Islanders have lost four of their last five games after opening league play with a 9-1 mark.
Kevin Palmer is one of two players to start all 29 games and is the only Islander to average more than 10 points as he leads the team in scoring (17.4 ppg), steals (2.7 spg) and minutes played (29.5 mpg). Justin Reynolds leads the team in FG pct at .473 and is second in scoring at 8.7 ppg and third in rebounding at 4.7 rpg. Tim Green averages 8.6 ppg and is second in steals (1.5 spg) and 3-pointers (32).
As a team, the Islanders are averaging 67.9 points overall and 70.8 in league games. They are being outshot 43-42 percent from the floor and rank 11th in the SLC in 3-point FG pct., at .294.
What Lies Ahead
Lamar enters the final two games of the regular-season tied for seventh place with Texas State. McNeese State and Southeastern Louisiana are tied for ninth one game back. The chart below shows who each of those teams has left on its schedule leading up to Saturday's final games.
Lamar McNeese Texas St. SELA
3/4 at A&MCC SE La. UTSA at McN
3/7 Nicholls at UCA at SHSU at NWLA
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 four games ago, he has been Lamar's leading scorer at 16.3 points per game, while grabbing 6.8 rebounds and handing out 3.0 assists. He led the Cardinals in scoring at Sam Houston with 15 points and had his coming-out party against UTA last past Wednesday with career-highs in points (24), field goals made (11), steals (2) and minutes (40). He has played all 40 minutes in each of the last two games after posting his previous high of 29 against both Sam Houston and Northwestern 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 seven halves (dating back to the second half of the Sam Houston game), Lamar has shot 96-of-196 for 49.0 pct.