LU Overwhelms Yellow Jackets 90-47

BEAUMONT, Texas – Sophomore Josh Nzeakor scored a career-high 20 points to guide Lamar University to an impressive 90-47 victory over Howard Payne Friday evening at the Montagne Center. The Cardinals got balanced scoring and used suffocating defensive pressure to record the season-opening victory.

Every player except for one got into the scoring act Friday for the Cards, led by three in double figures. Junior Colton Weisbrod scored 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds, and sophomore Nick Garth came off the bench to add 14 for a team that shot better than 50 percent from the field (31-of-61/.508).

While the Cardinals were busy lighting up the scoreboard at one end of the floor, the defense was busy keeping HPU off balance at the other end. The Yellow Jackets turned the ball over 26 times, and were held to a 14-of-50 performance (.280) from the field. Beaumont, Texas natives Khyce Randall and Rickey Guillory led HPU with 12 and 10, respectively.

“I’m very happy with the victory, but we are still in the process of making sure we have the right guys on the court at the right time,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “We have a lot of new faces on this team, and there are a lot of things we still want to work on. We got an opportunity to do that tonight because we were able to get out to an early lead.

“We played against their zone tonight like we have never seen one before. Defensively, I thought our pressure was pretty good, but we gave up too many second shots. We have to become more physical on the glass,” added Price.

The Cards took full advantage of the every HPU turnover scoring 37 points off the visitor’s mistakes. Big Red also used its size in the low post to record a 42-22 advantage in the paint.

It didn’t take long for the Cardinals to jump out to a big lead. In a game in which the Red and White never trailed, the Cardinals rattled off a 22-6 run midway through the first half to push a five-point advantage out to 21 points, 34-13, and never looked back.

The Cardinals took a 53-22 lead into the locker room after converting 20-of-37 (.541) attempts from the field. LU outrebounded the Yellow Jackets, 25-19. The Cardinals also buried 4-of-11 (.364) three-pointers in the first half.

It was more of the same in the second half as the Cardinals pushed their advantage to as many as 51 points before HPU closed the gap in the final minutes. The Yellow Jackets were able to cut into the deficit due in large part to LU scoring only nine points in the game’s final 8:43

The Cardinals return to action Wednesday when they travel to Corvallis, Ore., to take on Oregon State. The game against the Beavers is slated to begin at 8 p.m.