BEAUMONT, Texas – Six players finished in double figures, led by junior Nick Garth’s career-high 25 points, as Lamar University thumped Southern University (New Orleans), 105-67, Wednesday night at the Montagne Center to close out a four-game homestand. The Cardinals end the homestand with a 3-1 mark and take a 4-1 (.800) overall record into the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Cardinals torched the Montagne nets at a 55.9 percent clip (38-of-68), shooting an identical 19-of-34 in each half. Big Red scored 33 of its 105 points from beyond the arc knocking down 11-of-24 (.458) attempts. The Cardinals also got a huge lift from its bench as six reserves checked into the lineup scoring 56 points.
LU also took advantage of its size in the low post outrebounding the Knights, 51-32, including 21 offensive rebounds. The 21 offensive boards led to 25 second-chance points, and a 12-point advantage in that area.
About the only negative for the Cardinals came at the free throw line. LU finished the night just seven points better from the stripe than three-point range converting 18-of-34 attempts (.529).
“I thought the second half was a turning point for us tonight,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “We really took control of the pace and the flow of the game in the second half. We did a good job in our matchup zone, they went about four or five possessions without scoring. We also did a good job of locking down their three-point shooters in the second half. They only shot 21 percent on threes in the final 20 minutes.”
The Knights finished the contest shooting 23-of-61 (.377) from the field, including an 8-of-26 (.308) effort from long range. SUNO also struggled from the free throw line converting just 56.5 percent of its attempts. The Knights were led by George Brock’s 21 points.
The Knights put up a good effort early keeping the game close for the first 7:30 minutes until Garth checked the lineup. The Houston junior knocked down four three-pointers in less than four minutes and turned a two-point advantage into a 14-point lead, effectively knocking the wind out of the visitors’ sails.
Garth finished the half a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range and had 19 points to his credit.
When Garth wasn’t knocking down threes, the Cardinals were attacking the low post. Senior Colton Weisbrod added 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while junior Josh Nzeakor added 10 points and eight boards. Both veterans were overshadowed Wednesday night by the play of Pflugerville freshman Avery Sullivan. The rookie came off the bench to record his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds – both career highs.
“I’m really excited for Avery tonight,” said Price. “He finished the night with a double-double. It is the first double-double of his college career.”
The Cardinals also got help from two local products. Senior Zjori Bosha scored 12 points, while Beaumont sophomore T.J. Atwood scored 11 points on 5-of-6 (.833) shooting.
LU carried a 15-point advantage into the locker room and was never seriously threatened in the second half. The Knights trailed by as many as 40 points in the final 20 minutes before the final tally.
The Cardinals will take Thanksgiving day off to spend time with family and friends before returning to work to prepare for UTEP. The game against the Miners will tip off at 7 p.m. (8 Beaumont time) from El Paso.