Lamar fades in second half at Butler

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Lamar Cardinals got 41 points from two players Saturday night in the season opener at Butler, but the rest of the team could manage only 17 as the Cards dropped an 89-58 decision at Hinkle Fieldhouse. 

"I think there was a little bit of ‘deer caught in the headlights' especially in the second half," said head coach Pat Knight. "They knocked us down and we just couldn't get back up. I thought we played hard in the first half, but I think in the second half we came out a little casual. We got a little happy with our performance. That is something we have got to learn. Team's like Butler aren't going to roll over for you. They get better in the second half."

The second half of the contest was a different story from the first. The Cardinals shot nearly 47 percent from the floor and used an 8-0 run sparked by six points from junior Nimrod Hilliard to build a five-point advantage with just over 11 minutes remaining before intermission. Lamar held the lead for the next two minutes before Butler was able to jump back in front. The final nine minutes of the half was a back-n-forth affair that saw eight lead changes before the Bulldogs closed the half with a 9-2 run to take a six-point lead into the locker room.

Lamar was unable to put a stop to the momentum to start the second half. Butler pushed the lead to double-digits less than a minute into the half. The Bulldogs used a 21-of-36 (58.3 percent) second-half shooting performance to push their lead to 20 points less than nine minutes into the half. 

Lamar tried to battle their way back in the contest behind the sharp shooting of Hilliard and classmate Donovan Ross. Hilliard led all scorers with his 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Ross, who scored 10 of the team's first 12 points, finished with 18 on 9-of-11 (.818) shooting. He also led the team with seven rebounds.

The Cardinals' defense did a good job of slowing down the Bulldogs perimeter attack, allowing only 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) attempts, but the Bulldogs created advantages in other areas. Butler did the majority of its damage in the paint. The Bulldogs outscored Lamar, 62-22, and also took advantage of Lamar miscues. LU turned the ball over 13 times and Butler cashed that in for 24 points. 

The Bulldogs also used their depth to create another advantage. Butler got 34 points from its bench, while Lamar's reserves were held to four. 
Lamar finished the night shooting 24-of-56 (.429) from the floor. Butler outrebounded the Cards, 41-27, and did the majority of their damage on the glass in the second half.

Senior Amos Wilson was the team's third-leading scorer finishing the night with nine points. The Bulldogs had four players in double figures led by Khyle Marshall's 19 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Kellen Dunham added 13 points.

The Cardinals return to action Tuesday when they host George Mason. The game against the Patriots is slated to begin at 7 p.m. from the Montagne Center.




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