POCATELLO, Idaho – The Lamar University men’s basketball team (4-2) never led Tuesday night dropping a 77-60 decision at Idaho State. The loss stopped the Cardinals second attempt at a three-game win streak on the young season.
“Idaho State came out ready to play tonight,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “We knew we would get this kind of effort against them. They’ve been on the road for a long time and looked like a team that was excited to be at home.
“We didn’t come out with any energy. We were a little dead-legged to start tonight and Idaho State took advantage of it. I think we were getting frustrated with some of the calls we felt didn’t go our way and we allowed that to effect the next play. We also didn’t force them into any mistakes. We allowed Idaho State to do to us what we normally do to opponents,” added Price.
LU was unable to replicate its shooting performance from its previous game being held to a 19-of-62 (.306) effort by the Bengals. The Red and White knocked down seven three-pointers but attempted 28 shots (.250) from beyond the arc.
The Cardinals were impressive on the glass recording their largest rebound margin of the season (+19), 47-28, including 17 offensive boards. Unfortunately, the Cardinals could only convert that into a 10-3 advantage in second chance points.
The Bengals finished the night shooting nearly 48 percent from the field, including an 8-of-18 (.444) performance from beyond the three-point arc. ISU finished the night with four players in double-figures led by 18 points from Robert Jones.
LU’s defense did a good job of neutralizing Ethan Telfair’s effect on the game. He entered the night averaging better than 21 points per game but was held to nine points on 3-of-7 (.429) shooting Tuesday.
“We did a good job of making sure we always had a man in Ethan’s face,” said Price. “I think we frustrated him a little bit and then got him in early foul trouble. We did a good job there but we allowed (Robert) Jones to go off for 18 points. You just can’t allow that to happen.”
The Cardinals were led by junior Colton Weisbrod’s second-straight double-double 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Sophomore Nick Garth was the only other Cardinal in double figures. He finished with 12 points, but was just 2-of-9 from the field. Garth did the majority of his damage from the free throw line where he was 6-of-7.
Idaho State jumped out to a 7-0 lead before junior Torey Noel was able to dent the scoreboard with a field goal at the 16:07 mark. The Bengals responded by pushing their lead to 10 points, 12-2, before LU rattled off an 8-0 run sparked by consecutive threes from senior Marcus Owens to get the game within a basket, 12-10, with 12:37 remaining in the first half.
ISU stopped the run with two free throws from Brandon Boyd, and it was all Idaho State for the rest of the half. The Bengals pushed their advantage back to double figures, and led by as many as 16. Sparked by 10 first-half points from Jones, ISU shot nearly 43 percent from the field, including a 6-of-11 (.545) effort from beyond the arc.
LU never seemed to find its rhythm in the first half hitting just 8-of-27 (.296) attempts, and just a 3-of-13 (.231) effort from beyond the arc. Despite their struggles from the field, the Cardinals only found themselves down nine at halftime, 37-28.
The Cardinals seemed to be re-energized to start the second half. After falling behind by 10, LU cut the deficit down to six points after consecutive offensive rebounds and put backs from sophomore Josh Nzeakor. The run stopped right there as ISU responded by pushing the lead back to double digits.
After trailing by 11 points, the Cards rattled off another 8-0 run cutting the lead down to just three, 53-50, with nearly 11 minutes remaining in the game, but ISU responded with an 8-0 run of its own. That was the flow of the game as LU made numerous runs to cut the deficit down to either a one or two possession game only to see the Bengals get the lead back to double digits. Following free throws from Novak Topalovic and Telfair late in the game the lead remained in double digits as ISU pushed its advantage to as many as 18 points in the final 20 minutes.
The Cardinals return to action Friday when they travel to San Francisco, Calif., to take on the University of San Francisco Dons. The game against the Dons is slated to tip off at 7 p.m. (9 p.m. Beaumont time) from War Memorial Gym.
“We will go back to the drawing board before playing USF,” said Price. “We have some problems we need to fix but they are correctable. The thing I’m most disappointed in tonight is we lost the hustle areas. We got beat on effort.”