BEAUMONT, Texas - Freshman Marcus Owens came off the bench to score a career-high 15 points as Lamar tried to rally late against Texas-Pan American but came up short falling to the Broncs, 66-61, Wednesday evening at the Montagne Center. The loss drops Lamar to 1-6 on the season, while UTPA moves to .500 on the season (4-4).
"We have to do a better job of hitting shots," said head coach Pat Knight. "We had too many of our main guys that were 1-of-(4), 1-of-(7) tonight. They zoned us and we couldn't hit shots. I thought our defense was good tonight. We held them to 66 points. Our defense was good but you have to do something at the other end of the floor. If you get a stop and don't score it's just a wasted possession."
The Cardinals shot 35 percent from the field and knocked down a season-high seven three-pointers (37 percent), but it was the second half that was their undoing. UTPA finished the game 25-of-54 (46 percent), and did the majority of their damage in the second half connecting on nearly 58 percent of their attempts.
LU took a two-point advantage, 30-28, into the locker room behind 11 first-half points from senior Amos Wilson. The team's lone senior connected on five of his first seven attempts, and finished the game with 15 points. Lamar also took care of business at the free throw line in the opening 20 minutes, knocking down six of their first eight attempts - a stat that would fail the Cards in the second half.
UTPA opened the new half with a 14-5 run sparked by two Javorn Farrell field goals and a couple of free throws to take a seven-point lead. Although Lamar would cut the lead down to a single point on a couple of occasions, the Cards could never get over the hump. LU's attempt at a comeback was hurt by poor second-half free throw shooting, and the Broncs' ability to score in the paint. UTPA scored 42 of its points in the paint, while the Cardinals struggled from the line in the final 20 minutes (8-of-17/.471).
The Cards got a scoring punch from their bench outscoring the UTPA reserves, 36-14. Junior Nimrod Hilliard joined Owens and Wilson in double figures with 13 points. He also dished out eight assists and pulled down five rebounds. Classmate Octavius Green had another dominant performance on the glass pulling down a team-high 10 rebounds. The Broncs were led by Farrell's game-high 22 points.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they host Arkansas State. The game against the Red Wolves is slated to begin at 6 p.m. from the Montagne Center.