Cardinal hoops to host double-header Saturday

Addesa Collins

The Lamar Cardinal basketball teams will be back in action Saturday, Jan. 16, when both teams host Northwestern State beginning with the Lady Cards at 2 p.m. followed by the men at 4:30 p.m. Both will streamed live online at espn3.com.

The Lady Cards dropped a 74-49 road decision on Jan. 11 at Central Arkansas as senior Addesa Collins finished with a team-high 14 points, leading LU in scoring for the fourth consecutive game. Collins was the only LU player in double figures as the Cardinals (6-9 overall, 2-2 Southland) saw their two-game winning streak come to an end. LU fell to 0-8 on the road this season.

“We have to do a better job on the road,” LU coach Robin Harmony said. “We have to handle adversity better. We need our seniors to step up and be leaders.”

LU struggled to find its shooting touch throughout the game against a Central Arkansas team that was ranked second in the nation in defense, allowing just 47.4 points per game. The Cardinals shot just 26.2 percent (16-of-61) from the field and 33.3 percent (3-of-9) from 3-point range. LU connected on 58.3 percent (14-of-24) of its free-throw attempts.

Maggie Proffitt led Central Arkansas (13-2, 3-1) with 26 points, 15 of those in the first half, as the Sugar Bears built a 30-24 lead at intermission. Central Arkansas led 48-39 after three quarters before pulling away by outscoring LU 26-10 in the final quarter.

Laka Blache came off the bench to score nine points and grab seven rebounds for LU. Chastadie Barrs and Khali Pippins-Tryon had eight points for the Cardinals. JaMeisha Edwards had a team-high eight rebounds, one shy of her career high.

Sandy Jackson added 10 points for Central Arkansas, which got 14 rebounds from Raquel Logan and 13 rebounds from Taylor Baudoin.

The Cardinals remain on the road and will play at Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. The game can be heard online at lamarcardinals.com.

Men’s hoops

It is a story that has become all too familiar for Lamar University head men’s basketball coach Tic Price and his Cardinals this season, and it is a story that repeated itself Jan. 11 in the Montagne Center.

The Cardinals fell behind by double digits early in the first half to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, only to rally to take a lead in the second half but watch their opponents reclaim the advantage and hold on for the win late in the contest. The Islanders escaped Beaumont with a 91-82 decision, dropping the Cardinals to 9-7 overall and 1-3 in Southland Conference play.

“You saw experience versus inexperience tonight, and experience won,” said Price. “In our last 12 possessions, we turned the ball over six times, so we lost some composure down the stretch, but we battled and played hard. This time of year, you have to execute offensively, and you have to make your defensive stops.”

The Cardinals finished the night with four players in double figures, led by freshman Nick Garth. The Houston native scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, which included a 4-of-7 performance from beyond the arc. Senior Dontavious Sears recorded his third straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Josh Nzeakor just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Junior Lincoln Davis chipped 11 on the night.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi finished the game with five players in double figures, led by Bryce Douvier’s 26 points and 14 rebounds. Ali Hameed added 13 for the Islanders, while Ehab Amin scored 12 on 5-of-8 shooting.

“We did a good job defensively on (Rashawn) Thomas and (Brandon) Pye tonight, but we needed to a better job against the supporting cast. Bryce Douvier was a thorn in our side all night,” added Price. 

Thomas entered the game as the Southland’s second-leading scorer but was held to 11 points, seven of which came from the free-throw line. Pye was a non-factor with four points on 1-of-7 shooting.

Both teams lit up the nets in the second half, shooting better than 50 percent from the field. The Islanders were also 10-of-20 (.500) from three-point range.

The Cardinals outrebounded their opponents by six, 38-32, and forced A&M-Corpus Christi into two more turnovers on the night, but LU didn’t make the Islanders pay for their mistakes. LU could manage only 11 points off Corpus Christi mistakes, while the Cardinals were burned for 22 points on their 17 turnovers.

The Cardinals got another strong performance from their reserves. LU’s bench outscored the Islanders’ reserves, 51-31.

LU fell behind by 15 points, 20-5, to start the game, and didn’t record their first field goal until nearly three minutes into the half. The basket, a three-pointer from senior Dontavious Sears, was one of only two field goals for Lamar in the first eight-plus minutes of the opening half.

The Islanders appeared to be on the verge of running away with the contest early on, but the 15-point advantage was as large as their lead would get all night. Despite being outshot by their guests in the opening 20 minutes, the Cardinals began methodically chipping away the A&M-Corpus Christi lead.

After a steal that led to a layup for Davis, the Cardinals got a stop on the defensive end that led to a layup for freshman Dorian Chatman. Big Red cut the deficit down to single digits after another stop led to a layup from Nzeakor. After A&M-Corpus Christi pushed its lead back to 13 points with just over eight remaining in the half, LU rattled off a 9-0 run to cut the lead to four, 29-25, with 6:57 on the clock.

The Islanders got two free throws from Douvier to push their advantage back to six points, and LU responded with consecutive baskets from Garth to pull within a point, 33-32. Davis would tie the game up at the free throw line moments later. After A&M-Corpus responded by scoring the next four points to take a two possession lead, the Cards closed the half on a 6-2 run to tie the game at 39 heading into the locker room.

The final lead change came at the 4:39 mark when Corpus Christi’s Thomas netted two free throws to give the Islanders a one-point lead with less than five to play. The Islanders took advantage of six turnovers in the Cardinals’ final 12 possessions to rattle off a 9-2 run to build an eight-point advantage with 2:09 remaining. The late turnovers were too much to overcome; the two teams traded baskets in the game’s final minutes, and the Islanders held on for the win.

After playing Northwestern State at home on Saturday, with tipoff at 4:30 p.m., the Cards will travel Monday, Jan. 18, to play at Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m.

Lamar wants to remind fans that the Tic Price Coach’s Show airs every Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on KBTV FOX 4 and Sunday afternoons at 12:30 p.m. on the CW.

LU fans can keep track of what is happening in the Southland Conference race, as well as look forward to upcoming games. The show will also feature highlights of the Cards previous games, as well as highlight players, coaches and other special guests.

Football

Junior running back Kade Harrington finished second to Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp for the 2015 STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Award at the awards banquet in Frisco on Jan. 8. In one of the closest votes in award history, Harrington was edged out by just 29 points, at 378-349. Harrington finished with 26 first-place votes.

Harrington was seeking to become just the second player in the history of the Southland Conference, and just the 10th running back ever, to win the award.

“Just to have the ability to come to Frisco and represent Lamar University as a finalist for this award is a huge honor,” said Harrington. “It is something I will remember for the rest of my life. It would be a lie to say I’m not disappointed, but Cooper (Kupp) had an incredible season and I’m happy for him. I’m disappointed more for my teammates and for my coaches. They all worked so hard to get me here, and I felt like I owed it to them to bring this award back to Beaumont.

“I had the honor of running behind a great offensive line. They never seem to get the credit they deserve for the work they do. My job is made easy because of them, and yet I’m here tonight. I felt like I owed this coaching staff. They saw something in me when no one else was willing to take a chance on me.”

Kupp earned his third consecutive NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Offensive Player of the Year award after leading the FCS in five categories – receptions, receptions per game (10.4), reception yards (1,642), reception yards per game (149.3) and touchdown receptions (19).

 

— Compiled by Chad Cooper

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