Nov. 14, 2013
Lamar Game Notes
The Lamar Cardinal basketball team (0-2) returns to action Saturday when they travel to Pullman, Wash., to take on Washington State. The Cougars are 1-0 after opening the regular season with a 62-56 decision over Cal State Bakersfield. The Cardinals enter the weekend looking for their first victory of the season after opening the year with tough non-conference games against Butler and George Mason, both of whom have jumped into the national spotlight in recent years with trips to the Final Four.
The game against the Cougars is slated to tipoff at 9:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. Central time) from the Beasley Coliseum. The game will also be televised on the Pac 12 Network. The 9:30 p.m. start will be the latest tipoff for the Cardinals this season.
The Cardinals faced a tough challenge in their home opener against the Patriots Tuesday evening. In addition to facing one of the top teams from the Atlantic 10, the Patriots were also returning 10 letterwinners and five starters from a team that won 22 games last season. Lamar entered the season at the opposite end of the spectrum with only one senior (Amos Wilson) and seven newcomers.
"I like this team," said head coach Pat Knight. "We have some talented guys here, but our chemistry is not quite there yet. We have to continue to work hard to get these guys all on the same page."
Lamar is being led by two newcomers who have jumped out to great starts offensively. Junior Nimrod Hilliard leads the team averaging 18.5 points, including 23 against Butler. Classmate Donovan Ross is averaging 17 points in two games while shooting 79 percent from the field. The Lamar duo is ranked among the league's top 10 in scoring, and Ross is currently ranked second in the league shooting 78.9 percent from the field.
While the duo of Hilliard and Ross is averaging nearly 36 points per game, the Cardinals are looking for a consistent third and fourth scorer to step up. Through the first two games the rest of the team is averaging 20.5 points per game.
Washington State got a strong performance from DaVonte' Lacy in the Cougars season opener. He finished the game with 28 points, but he was on the only Cougar to hit double figures. Senior forward D.J. Shelton added seven points and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds in the game.
The Cardinals will have to overcome a noticeable height advantage that Washington State brings to the floor. The Cougars have four players listed at 6-10, or taller, and three others listed at 6-7. Lamar has one player, Sebastian Norman, who stands at 6-9.
The trip to Pullman kicks off a two-week, four-game stretch away from the Montagne Center for the Cardinals. Lamar will be in Salt Lake City, Utah to compete in the Global Sports Showcase beginning Thursday, Nov. 21, against Savannah State. The Cards will also face Utah and Grand Canyon during the three-day event.