Lamar Loop: Cardinals look to snap skid with SLC opener

Lamar University basketball player shooting a basketball

The holiday road hasn’t been kind to the Lamar men’s basketball team. After opening the season 8-1, LU dropped the next four games and will head into the Southland Conference opener on Thursday, Dec. 28, with an 8-4 record as the Houston Baptist Huskies at the Montagne Center at 7 p.m.

The Cards fell to Southern Illinois (8-5) 71-61 in Carbondale, Illinois, on Dec. 17. Seniors Colton Weisbrod and Zjori Bosha were the only two Cards to score in double figures – each player had 14 points. It was the first-half shooting woes that crippled the team as they went 8-27 (.296) from the field.

LU then traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 19 and lost a heartbreaker to Duquesne, 65-64. With less than 2 minutes left to play, Lamar led 64-57 but failed to score another point as they were outscored 8-0 to the Dukes (9-4) in the final few minutes at the A.J. Palumbo Center. The Cardinals were failed by their effort at the free throw line, converting just 12 of 23 (.522) attempts.

Weisbrod and sophomore Tyrin Atwood led the team with 14 points each while senior James Harrison added 12.

The Cardinals then travelled to Las Vegas to play two games against UC Davis and North Carolina A&T.

Down by 1 at the half on Dec. 22, the Aggies (8-5) used a second-half surge to spark a 77-68 win over Lamar at Orleans Arena. UC Davis used a hot shooting second half (15-25) to finish the game above 50 percent from the field (25-47). They also converted 8 of 19 (.421) attempts from beyond the arc, and were a near perfect 19 of 20 (.950) from the free throw line.

LU had four players scoring in double-figures with Harrison leading with 17 points followed by junior Nick Garth with 14, Weisbrod with 12 and junior Josh Nzeakor with 10.

Lamar wrapped up its four-game road trip Dec. 23 with a 74-70 loss to North Carolina A&T (7-7). The Cards went nearly 7 minutes without scoring a point in the opening half, a stretch that saw LU go from up 4 to down 11 points, and was never able to reclaim the lead.

Weisbrod recorded a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds as Harrison added 18 points and Garth 12.

On Thursday, the HBU Huskies (4-9) come to Beaumont losers of four of their last five games, one of which was at No. 2 Michigan State (107-62).

Freshman David Caraher (6-6) leads HBU in scoring and rebounding with 13.8 points and 6.7 boards per game. The Huskies of the Southland Conference roster one player from Southeast Texas, Michael Saladin from Hardin-Jefferson.

Lamar will also play Saturday, Dec. 30, at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7:30 p.m. The Islanders are 3-7 and are led by senior guard Joe Kilgore, who nets 16.7 points per game and 5.6 rebounds.

Women’s hoops

Coach Ro       sbin Harmony purposely scheduled teams like Baylor and Purdue to help get her team ready for the Southland Conference. LU will begin conference play with two road games starting Thursday, Dec. 28 at Houston Baptist. 

The Cardinals come into the game with a 5-5 record after a 90-58 loss at New Mexico on Dec. 20.

Lamar sophomore Kyla Green scored 12 points at New Mexico, but the Cardinals couldn’t overcome a 3-point barrage from the host, who improved to 12-1.

Heading into the conference opener, junior Moe Kinard leads the team in scoring with 15.1 points per game, and fellow junior Chastadie Barrs is right behind her with 13.3.

For HBU (4-6), the Huskies are fronted by junior Amanda Johnson, who scores 16.3 points per game and 5.7 rebounds.

Lamar faces Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 5 p.m. TAMU-CC (7-4) is lead by senior Brittany Mbamalu (12.3 points).

Volleyball

Despite not having a new head volleyball coach, two student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to play volleyball at Lamar stating with the 2018 season.

Joining the Cardinals next season are Kinsy Haschke and Abi Nash.

“Our 2018 is one I am very excited about. Kinsy and Abi both bring abilities to our team that will fill a few areas of need,” interim head coach Michelle Kuester said. “Both athletes can do a little bit of everything. They are high volleyball IQ players with athleticism to match. These women are huge pieces that we need to complete the puzzle here at Lamar.”

Haschke helped Barbers Hill reach the regional quarterfinals this past season. The outside hitter is ranked as the 143rd best prospect ion Texas by Max Preps. She had 361 kills in 104 sets this season. She will enroll at Lamar in January.

“Kinsy Haschke is the definition of a volleyball player. She is a student of the game, and I expect her to make an immediate impact,” Kuester said. “Arriving in January, I fully anticipate her being integrated into our system and will develop leadership qualities early on.”

Nash, a first-team all-district and all-region selection for each of the past two years at Sahuaro High School in Tuscon, Arizona, led her team with 315 kills this season. She also plays for the Zona Volleyball Club, helping that team win the 172 Patriot Division title at the USVA Girls Junior National Championships

“Abi Nash is another complete volleyball player. She will bring a level of competitiveness and intensity that will really push everyone around her,” Kuester said. “She is a fiery athlete that the crowd will enjoy watching compete. She is accustomed to having to be the ‘go-to’ player and she thrives in pressure situations.”

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