Lamar to host Lyon College on Dec. 31

GO CARDINALS <strong>Senior Mike James is coming off a 29-point effort against Kentucky</strong>
Senior Mike James is coming off a 29-point effort against Kentucky

Dec. 29, 2011

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BEAUMONT - Following three straight road games, including the last two against teams ranked in the AP top five, the Lamar men's basketball team will play its final non-conference game this Saturday afternoon at 1 when Lyon College visits the Montagne Center.

Lamar, 8-5 on the year, opened its three-game road trip with an 87-81 win at Rice on Dec. 17 before falling 70-50 at No. 2 Ohio State on Dec. 20 and 86-64 at No. 3 Kentucky on Wednesday. The Scots bring a 5-5 record into Saturday's game, but haven't played since a 108-61 loss at Arkansas State on Dec. 19.

The Cardinals open Southland Conference play at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Jan. 4.

This will be the fifth straight season for Lamar and Lyon to meet in the Montage Center with the Cardinals owning a 4-0 series advantage. The Cardinals opened the 2010-11 season with a 115-57 win over Lyon in the most lopsided contest in the series.

In last year's meeting, the Cardinals shot 52.6 percent from the floor, knocked down 15 3-pointers and forced the Scots into 34 turnovers. Lamar led 66-35 at the half before outscoring Lyon 49-22 in the second half. Lamar outscored the Scots 44-20 in the paint, and had a huge 47-10 advantage in points off turnovers as the Cardinals committed just 13 in the contest.

Current seniors Brandon Davis and Devon Lamb each went over 20 points in their LU debuts. Davis finished with a game-high 22 points, adding six assists, while Lamb finished with 21 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Senior forward Charlie Harper added 15 points and eight rebounds.

Andy Lee led the Scots with 12 points. Jacob Worlow and Slater Belew each chipped in with eight points and three rebounds.

Lamar played competitively against the Wildcats in its most recent outing, but couldn't overcome its poor shooting and 33 trips to the free throw line for Kentucky. The Cardinals shot just 38.5 percent from the floor, including 2-of-12 aim from 3-point range.

UK connected on 49.1 percent of its shots and made a stellar 27-of-33 from the charity stripe. The Cards only attempted 15 free throws in the game, making 12. Lamar did stay even with the much bigger Wildcats on the backboards as both teams finished with 36 rebounds.

Senior Mike James, who now leads the Cardinals in scoring at 14.9 points per game, led all players with a season-high 29 points. James was 13-of-29 from the floor, adding three rebounds and three steals. Fellow senior Anthony Miles finished with 11 points.

Lamar got solid bench production from sophomores Tre Lynch and Osas Ebomwonyi. Lynch hit four of his seven shots to chip in with eight points in 17 minutes, while Ebomwonyi led Lamar with eight rebounds and four blocked shots.

The Cardinals enter Saturday's game averaging 71.5 points per game, and despite back-to-back losses of at least 20 points, Lamar is still outscoring its opponents by 3.2 points per game. LU ranks fifth nationally in rebounding at 41.8 rebounds per game.

While Lamar is shooting just 40.2 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from 3-point range, it is one of the top free throw shooting teams in the country. Lamar is hitting on 74.4 percent of its free throw attempts to rank second in the Southland Conference and 32nd in the nation.

Miles is right behind James in scoring at 14.8 points per game, and his 3.8 assists per game lead the Cardinals. Lamb is the Cardinals' other double-figure scorer at 10.3 points per game, and his 8.5 rebounds per game lead the team and rank second in the Southland Conference.

The Scots come into the game averaging 75.9 points per game on 42.9 percent shooting. Lyon is also hitting seven 3-pointers per game on 37.4 percent shooting, and making 69.1 percent of its free throws. The Scots are giving up 81.4 ppg and are being outrebounded by 2.8 rebounds per game.

Three players are scoring in double-figures, led by sophomore forward C.J. Blount at 14.1 points per game. The 6-foot-6 Blount also leads the team in rebounding at 6.4 per game. Belew is averaging 11.0 points per game, while freshman guard Kendall Leeks is averaging 10.3 ppg. Senior guard Brandon Cowart is adding 8.7 points and a team-best 3.0 assists per game.




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