Lamar looks for road win at Virginia in NIT Season Tip-Off

GO CARDINALS <strong>Rhon Mitchell had 14 points and 10 boards against Charlotte for his first career double-double</strong>
Rhon Mitchell had 14 points and 10 boards against Charlotte for his first career double-double

Nov. 18, 2012

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, N.C. - The Lamar University men's basketball team will look for its first win of the season when the Cardinals jump back into play in the NIT Season Tip-Off with a 6 p.m. contest Monday evening at John Paul Jones Arena against host Virginia.

The Cardinals, who are 0-3 on the year for just the second time in school history, took a break from the NIT to face Charlotte on Saturday. Lamar will close out the NIT Season Tip-Off with the third-round game against the Cavaliers and a fourth-round contest with IUPUI on Tuesday.

The Cardinals are coming off a 70-49 loss at Charlotte despite the first career double-double of redshirt freshman Rhon Mitchell. The 6-foot-5 forward finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Cardinals who will play their first 11 games this season away from the Montagne Center.

Lamar opened the year at Kansas State in the NIT Midwest Regional, falling 79-55 to the host Wildcats and 74-59 to former conference rival North Texas. This is Lamar's second trip to the NIT Season Tip-Off with the last time coming at the start of the 1985-86 season.

Turnovers have been a huge problem for the Cardinals through the first three games as they have committed twice as many as their opponents. Lamar has yet to find its shooting touch, shooting just 38.7 percent from the floor as a team and 6-of-25 from 3-point range.

Despite being undersized in all three games, Lamar has done a solid job of rebounding. The Cardinals, who bested Charlotte 49-39 on the boards Saturday, are grabbing 41.3 rebounds per game and allowing just 39.0 to their three opponents.

Mitchell leads the Cardinals in scoring and rebounding, putting up averages of 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior guard Donley Minor is the only other double-figure scorer for the Cardinals with an average of 11.0 points per game.

Senior forward Stan Brown, the lone returning starter off last year's 23-12 NCAA Tournament team, is putting up averages of 7.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Brown had a season-high 11 boards in Saturday's loss to Charlotte.

The Cardinals will be meeting both Virginia of the Atlantic Coast Conference and IUPUI of the Summit League for the first time ever in basketball. Lamar is 0-6 all-time against teams from the ACC and 1-0 against Summit League teams.

Virginia brings a 2-2 record into Monday's game following a dominating 83-43 home win over Seattle on Saturday. Tony Bennett is in his fourth season as the Cavaliers' head coach.

The Cavs are averaging 62.2 points per game and are allowing 52.5. As a team, UVA is shooting 42.7 percent from the floor, 31.3 percent from 3-point range and 71.6 percent from the free throw line. On the glass, the Cavs are pulling down 35.0 rebounds per game and allowing just under 30 to their opponents.

Junior guard Joe Harris leads the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game. Junior forward Akil Mitchell is averaging a double-double at 13.0 points and a team-best 11.0 rebounds per game. Mitchell is coming off a 16-rebound effort against Seattle.

IUPUI brings a 2-2 record into Charlottesville, but the Jaguars will face North Texas on Monday before taking on the Cardinals on Tuesday. Todd Howard, who has been with the program for 17 years, is in his second season as the Jaguars' head coach.

IUPUI is averaging 68.2 points per game and giving up 72.5 per contest. The Jags shoot 44.2 percent from the floor, 39.0 percent from 3-point range and 67.3 percent from the free throw line. IUPUI is giving up 3.5 more rebounds per game to its opponents.

Junior center Mitchell Patton leads a trio of double-digit scorers at 16.5 points per game, adding 6.8 rebounds per contest. Senior guard John Hart is putting up 15.8 points per game, while fellow senior guard Greg Rice is averaging 12.3 points and 4.0 assists per game. Junior forward Donovan Gibbs averages a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game.




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