LU ready for SLC basketball

The Lamar men’s and women’s basketball teams are set to begin Southland Conference play this weekend as the Cards will host Nicholls on Saturday, Jan. 3. The Lady Cards (3-8) will play at 4 p.m. followed by the men’s game at 7 p.m.

Then, both teams will travel east to New Orleans on Monday, Jan. 5 for a double header with the ladies tipping off at 5:30 p.m. and the men will follow at 7:30 p.m.

The men’s team, 6-6, is in the midst of its best stretch since the 2011-12 season. On Dec. 22, LU posted a thrilling overtime victory against Rice, which saw Lamar rally from a double-digit first-half deficit, continue their hot shooting, and record some very strong individual performances off the bench to win 79-72 in overtime.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” said head coach Tic Price following the team’s win over Rice. “But our guys just kept grinding and found a way to pull this one out. I was proud of how our guys came up with big play after big play. Any time you have six guys in double figures, that lets you know it was a true team performance.”

Earlier in November, Price announced the signing of three high school standouts and one junior college transfer as they each signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball and continue their education at Lamar.

The November signing class consists of forward Dorian Chatman (Port Arthur), guard Nick Garth (Houston), forward Terrance Hubby (Arlington) and center Christian Kennedy (Warner Robbins, Ga.).

“I’m very excited about the young men that we are bringing into the program,” said Price. “Not only are these talented players, but they all fit needs within our program. Our coaching staff did a great job identifying our most pressing needs and finding players who best fit our system,”

“Another thing I like about this class is that they are all high-character guys who take their studies seriously,” added Price.

Price bolstered the Cardinals lineup with size and scoring punch in the four-member signing class — a class that includes three of the top high school talents in the state of Texas. All three prep standouts are ranked among the state’s top 50.

Chatman has averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game, while shooting 65 percent from the floor in his first three seasons with Port Arthur Memorial. Rated as high as 16th within the state, Chatman’s biggest asset might be his abilities on defense. The all-state selection averages better than five blocks per game, and was named the district newcomer of the year last season.

Both Garth and Hubby are ranked among the top 10 players at their position in the Lone Star state. Garth has averaged 19 points per game for Cy Lakes High School, while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. Hubby averaged 13 points and six rebounds for Mansfield Summit High School in Arlington last season as a junior.

“Terrance is a long and rangy player who brings a lot of athleticism to the position,” said Price. “He is exactly what we were looking for at that position. We were able to identify him during the July evaluation period and felt like he was the best person for that position.

“Nick is one of the best shooting guards in the state of Texas. He has the ability to create separation and get his shot off. He really provides us with a very talented freshmen class,” added Price.

Kennedy will provide immediate help in the low post. One of the tallest players in the Southland Conference, Kennedy originally signed with Tennessee-Chattanooga before transferring to Daytona State Junior College.

Football

Lamar receiver Mark Roberts has been named third-team All-America, the Associated Press announced. Roberts was also named to the 2014 FCS All-America Team. He was the only Southland Conference receiver named to the three-team squad.

There was a lot of hype surrounding Roberts entering the 2014 season. Named to a lot of preseason watch lists, the Orange native lived up to the hype by recording one of the best seasons by a receiver in school history and rewriting the record books.

Roberts became the first receiver in Cardinals history to record 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. That mark was overshadowed by the fact that Roberts became the school’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions in only two years with the program.

Roberts also reached the touchdown record in dramatic fashion. Needing three touchdowns to tie the record coming into Lamar’s game against Houston Baptist, the senior hauled in five passes for 208 yards and four scores against the Huskies to set the standard. Making those numbers even more impressive was the fact that Roberts caught all five passes before halftime, and didn’t play in the second half. He ended the year hauling in 46 passes for 1,157 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“This honor is well deserved for Mark,” said head coach Ray Woodard. “He came in here and did everything we asked him to do. Mark had a very special year, and he really helped place Lamar football on the map. From the time Mark arrived on campus until now, he has matured both as a player and a man. He is obviously a great player, but an even better leader and teammate.”

Roberts ended the season ranked among the nation’s leaders in several categories. He led the conference and finished 11th in the nation in receiving yards, and was tied for seventh in touchdown catches. Roberts wrapped his two-year career at Lamar with 79 receptions for 1,795 yards and 21 touchdowns.

 

— Compiled by Chad Cooper

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