CONWAY, S.C. (James Dixon, Lamar Athletics) – Senior Colton Weisbrod scored 19 points to guide Lamar University to a thrilling 69-67 overtime victory over Coastal Carolina Saturday evening at the HTC Center. The victory equals the Cardinals (6-1) best start since the 2008-09 season.
It was also the second time this season the Cardinals have recorded a thrilling victory over Coastal Carolina (4-4) in the final minutes of the contest. In the first meeting, the Cardinals trailed by as many as 12 points in Beaumont before rallying for the six-point win. Saturday, the Cardinals built an 11-point lead with less than three to play before CCU closed regulation on an 11-0 run to send the game into overtime.
The Cardinals were nearly perfect in the overtime period knocking down 4-of-5 attempts, finishing the game 22-of-56 (.393), including nine three-pointers. The Cardinals knocked down the nine triples despite the fact junior Nick Garth was held without a field goal.
Coastal Carolina finished the night 23-of-63 (.365) from the field, but closed the game converting just 13 of their final 37 attempts from the field, including a 3-of-8 performance in overtime. Coastal never found its rhythm from long range finishing the night 5-of-28 (.179) on threes.
The Chanticleers found an advantage on the glass outrebounding LU, 47-29, including 20 offensive rebounds. Their advantage on the glass led to a 25-6 difference in second chance points.
“I’m very proud of these guys tonight,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “Things didn’t always go our way but when it came down to crunch time our guys found a way to win. Coastal is a very good rebounding team, but despite that advantage on the glass we got the stat that matters.
“We pride ourselves on being able to make stops. Tonight we faced several times where our offense was struggling but our defense kept us in the game until we could get going. This was a hard fought effort.”
Big Red started the game cold hitting just three of its first 10 shots. The Cardinals didn’t take their first lead of the game until the 9:34 mark when freshman Avery Sullivan hit a layup to give LU a one-point advantage. The Cardinals didn’t surrender the lead for the rest of the half and pushed their advantage to as many as eight before the Chanticleers rallied to trim the deficit to one, 26-25. The Cardinals pushed their lead to as many as eight before Weisbrod hit a three in the corner as time expired to give LU a four-point lead, 29-25, heading into the locker room.
LU was able to hold its lead for the majority of the second half despite the Chanticleers trimming the deficit to one possession on numerous occasions. Leading by three with just over nine minutes remaining, the Cards went on a 14-6 run to push their lead to 11, 56-45, with less than three to play.
The Chanticleers responded to the deficit by recording their biggest run of the night. CCU outscored the Cards, 11-0, in the game’s final 2:54 forcing overtime.
Coastal took the first lead of overtime with two free throws from Artur Labinowicz. After the Cardinals tied the game on the ensuing possession, Labinowicz gave Chanticleers back the lead with two more free throws.
The Cardinals finally took their first lead of the overtime on a made free throw from sophomore T.J. Atwood with 1:58 remaining. The Red and White still had a one-point lead and the ball with 53 seconds remaining. LU elected to run the shot clock down under five seconds when senior Joey Frenchwood banked a three-pointer from the top of the key giving LU a four-point lead with 25 seconds remaining. After a quick Coastal basket, CCU fouled Nick Garth on the inbound sending him to the line to shoot two. Garth made both to put the lead back to four points. The Chanticleers responded with a three-pointer from Labinowicz with 9.8 seconds to trim the lead back to a point. CCU fouled Zjori Bosha on the inbound with seven seconds remaining. Bosha hit one of two free throws to give LU a two-point lead. The Chanticleers ended the game with a rushed three-point attempt from Zac Cuthbertson but it glanced off the side of rim and LU grabbed the board as the horn sounded.
Weisbrod was joined in double figures by Frenchwood and Bosha. Frenchwood ended the night with 16 points and five assists, while Bosha chipped in 12. CCU was led by 19 points from Cuthbertson.
The Cardinals will be back in action Tuesday when they return home to host St. Thomas. The game against the Celts will tip off at 7 p.m. from the Montagne Center.