Dec. 18, 2009
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Finals exams are over and the holiday season is in full swing, meaning the home stretch of the non-conference portion of the 2009-10 season is upon us. Four of Lamar's next five games will pit the Cardinals against some of their longest rivals ever, beginning Saturday with Louisiana, Rice on Wednesday, Tulane on Jan. 2 and Arkansas State on Jan. 4.
About the Homestand
After playing six of five game on the road over
an 18-day stretch, Lamar will play six-straight home
contests over a 27-day span. Included in the stretch
are two Conference USA schools (Rice and Tulane)
and two Sun Belt schools (Arkansas State and
The six-game stretch is the second-longest in
school history, behind the nine-game skein of jack
Martin's 1971-72 squad. Martin's 1957-58 team also
closed the year with a six-straight home contests.
Beginning with the Louisiana College game
(Dec. 9), Lamar will play 12 of its next 16 games at
home and 15 of its final 23 in Beaumont.
This will be the 80th meeting since 1951 (when
Lamar moved from a junior college to four-year status)
with the Cardinals holding a 40-39 edge in the
all-time series. LU leads 30-9 in Beaumont, while
UL leads 28-10 in Lafayette and 2-0 in neutral site
contests. The 79 contests mark the second-longest
series in Lamar history, trailing only the 86 games
with McNeese State.
The schools have met in postseason play six
times, marking the most for an LU opponent - UL
leads 4-2 in conference tournament play. Strangely
enough, the teams have never played a title game
against one another and only two meetings came in
the semifinal round.
Last season's meeting in Lafayette - a 78-68
Lamar victory - was the first in the series since Dec.
14, 1999. LU and UL have been simultaneous members
of the Southland (1971-82), American South
(1987-91) and Sun Belt (1991-98) Conferences for a
combined 22 years.
The last time the Ragin' Cajuns played in Beaumont was more than 11 years ago - Dec. 16, 1998 - an 89-74 Big Red victory. This is the second
game in a five-year series between the programs.
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns come to Beaumont
with a 3-5 record following Tuesday's 71-53 loss at
Southern Miss. The USM game opened a stretch of
five games in 14 days between Dec. 15-28 for the
Four players average double-figures led by
senior Tyren Johnson (16.1 ppg) who also is the
team leader in rebounds (9.1 rpg). He has led the
squad in boards in every game and has grabbed at
least seven in each contest as well.
Junior Travis Bureau, senior Randell Daigle and
junior Chris Gradnigo have all scored at least 500
points in their careers at UL. Gradnigo, who did not
play against Lamar last season due to an elbow
injury, has led the team in scoring each of the past
Lamar is 0-2 against Sun Belt teams this season
(at Middle Tennessee and at Denver), while the
Southland as a league is 2-5.
Robert Lee is in his 14th year at UL and his sixth
as the head coach. He has compiled a 54-80 mark as
the head man. The 1991 Nicholls State graduate
spent eight years as an assistant to Marty Fletcher
and Jesse Evans.
The Ragin' Cajuns return all five starters and 12
letterwinners from last season's 10-20 squad. They
were picked to finish third in the Sun Belt
Conference's West Division.
Lamar's Post Finals Record Is Strong
Saturday's game is the first for the Cardinals following
final exams. Lamar is 23-7 in the last 30
years in its first game following finals. LU is 2-1
under head coach Steve Roccaforte with a two-game
winning streak following victories over Rice in 2007
and Huston-Tillotson in 2008.
Nabors Breaks Into The Record Books
Senior Justin Nabors had a career-high 24
rebounds last Wednesday night in the win over
Louisiana College, making him just the 15th player
in school history to grab at least 20 boards in a
game. While it was obviously Nabors' career-high, it
was notable for a few other reasons. It tied the
Montagne Center record for rebounds by a Lamar
player, tied this year's NCAA single-game high and
were four shy of both the Lamar and Southland single-
In fact, the last time a Cardinal had a 20-rebound
game came more than 20 years ago when Adrian
Caldwell had 21 against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb.
Did You Know?
The last time a Lamar player posted a 20-point,
20-rebound game - Adrian Caldwell went for 26
points and 21 boards in the Montagne Center on Feb.
2, 1989. The opposing team that day was
Southwestern Louisiana - now known as Louisiana-
Lafayette. That was actually his second-consecutive
game with at least 20 rebounds after he grabbed a
then Montagne Center record 24 five days earlier
against Texas-Pan American.
Roc Climbing Lamar Victories Chart
Lamar head coach Steve Roccaforte picked up
his 53rd coaching victory with the Cardinals' win
over Louisiana College on Dec. 9. That moved him
into a tie for fifth place with Mike Deane on the
school's all-time list. Grey Giovanine is next with 80
wins in six seasons from 1993-99.
Its Good To Be Home
Lamar is playing the second game of a six-game
homestand at the Montagne Center where it has won
15-consecutive non-conference games and has posted
a 21-3 non-league mark in four seasons under
head coach Steve Roccaforte.
Rebounding A Key For LU
Lamar has been strong on the glass all season,
averaging 41.0 rebounds per game with a plus-7.0
rebound margin. Both figures rank first in the
Southland while the margin puts LU 38th in the
NCAA. LU also ranks second in the SLC in offensive
boards (15.1) and third in defensive rpg (25.9).
The Cards posted season highs in rebounds (53)
and rebound margin (+25) against Louisiana College
in their last game. LU grabbed a season-best 24
offensive rebounds at Marshall and turned them into
a season-best 30 second chance points.
Free Throw Numbers
Lamar currently ranks 183rd nationally with a
.679 free throw percentage. The Cardinals have averaged
25.2 attempts per game and 17.1 makes. LU has
made 19 or more FTs in all four wins this season -
and a season-high 26 at Hawaii before 20 more
against La. College. In fact, LU is 4-1 when making
more FTs than its opponents and 0-5 when the opponent
makes more freebies.
Turnovers Troubles Settling Down
Lamar has struggled to take care of the ball this
season as evident by the 17.3 turnovers per game - a
figure which ranks 10th in the Southland Conference
and 308th nationally. But those numbers don't show
the improvement over the past five games, where LU
has averaged 14.8 with totals of nine at Hawaii and
16 against La. College in the last two contests.
Odds are you can determine if Lamar will win or
lose a game based on the halftime score. That's
because over the past two seasons, the Cardinals are
19-2 when leading at the half and 0-19 when trailing
or tied after 20 minutes of play.
The last time Lamar won a game that it trailed at
the break was on Jan. 8, 2008 against Utah Valley
State - LU trailed 36-32 and won 74-69.
Lamar SLC Leader In Double-Doubles
A trio of Lamar players have combined for eight
double-doubles thus far, which leads the Southland
Conference. Justin Nabors leads the league with
four, while Anthony Miles and Charlie Harper are
tied for fourth with two each.
Miles Blowing His Freshman Season Out of the Water
Sophomore PG Anthony Miles currently leads
the team in scoring (13.2), assists (3.8), FG pct.
(.483) and FG pct. (.429), while ranking second in
FT pct. (.771) and third in rebounds (5.1). He has
eight double-figure scoring games with a seasonhigh
of 20 coming at Denver (12/2). He has also
recorded two of his four career double-doubles this
Nabors Picking Up Where He Left Off Two Years Ago
Senior F Justin Nabors missed last season with a
right leg and elbow injury but he doesn't appear to
have missed a beat with his production. Through the
first 10 contests the Holly Springs, Miss., native
ranks second on the team in scoring at 13.0 and first
in rebounding at 10.0. He has an SLC-high four double-
doubles this season and nine in his career.
Over the past five games he has averaged 15.6
points and 11.8 boards while adding nine assists,
seven steals and four blocks.
Harris Contributing Nicely After Solid Junior College Career
Junior G Kendrick Harris currently ranks third
on the team in scoring (12.1), third in free throw pct.
(.745) and third in 3-pointers made (6). He had a season-
high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the 77-72
win over UTPA (11/16). He has scored 21 and 18 in
the last two games against Hawaii and Louisiana
College. He has seven assists and just two turnovers in those games as well.
No Sophomore Slump For Harper
Sophomore F Charlie Harper has proven to be
one of Lamar's primary options through the opening
10 games this season. He is a double-double threat
every night and is currently fourth on the team in
scoring (9.6), while ranking second in rebounding
(8.8). His total rebounding is second in the Southland
and his 6.3 defensive boards per game are first in the
Voice of the Cardinals Nearing Milestone
Lamar radio play-by-play broadcaster Dave
Hofferth is now in his 32nd season calling Lamar
basketball games. He will be calling his 895th game
on Saturday when Lamar hosts Louisiana-Lafayette.