Lamar falls at Canisius

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Despite a late rally, the Lamar Cardinals were unable to overcome a 21-point second-half deficit falling to Canisius (8-4), 87-74, Saturday afternoon in Buffalo. The loss drops the Cards to 1-10 on the season, and extends the teams skid to seven games.

"The turnovers really hurt us today," said head coach Pat Knight. "We had some bad turnovers against their zone, especially up top, that gave them some easy buckets. You can't turn the ball over, especially not against a good team, it will hurt you. I thought that broke the game open."

The Griffins jumped out to an early 11-point lead, 17-6, but that is when Lamar went to work. Junior Anthony Holliday checked in the game and brought some emotion with him, and the Cardinals fed off of that emotion.  Sparked by Holliday's five points and three rebounds, Lamar was able to cut into the deficit. Holliday also dished out three assists and the Cards pulled to within one, 31-30, with 4:39 remaining in the opening half.

But as soon as Lamar stole the momentum to get back into the game, the basketball started to jump around the Cardinals. Lamar turned the ball over 11 times in the opening half and Canisius made LU pay. The Griffins cashed those turnovers in for 12 points to build their lead back to double digits.  

Canisius was able to take the lead into the locker room, 47-32, despite being outshot and outrebounded in the opening half. Lamar was 13-of-26 (.500) from the floor while holding the Golden Griffins below 50 percent. LU also outrebounded Canisius, 20-16, in the opening half.

Sophomore Rhon Mitchell hit the first two baskets in the second half to cut the deficit to 11 points, but the Griffins responded with a run of their own. Sparked by nine second-half points from Billy Baron and Chris Perez Canisius went on an 18-8 run to push their advantage to 21 points, 65-44, midway through the second half.

Facing a potential knockout punch, the Cardinals once again chipping away at the deficit. Lamar received a huge boost from its bench. The Cardinal reserves scored 19 of their 32 points in the second half, led by juniors Octavius Green and Holliday. Green scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, while Holliday finished the game with nine points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Continuing to chip away at the lead Lamar cut the deficit to 10 points with 5:28 remaining in the contest, but the Golden Griffins responded by forcing the lead back to 19 with less than two minutes remaining. Despite the deficit, Lamar made one final push by taking advantage of three Canisius turnovers and a couple of timely three-pointers. The Cards cut the lead to nine points, and had the ball with less than 40 seconds remaining, but couldn't convert on the possession. Canisius responded by hitting their free throws on the other end of the floor for the final tally.

For the second-straight game Lamar finished with four players in double digits. In addition to Green's 15 points he also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Junior Nimrod Hilliard scored nine of his 14 points in the second half, while Mitchell and Donovan Ross each finished with 12.

The Golden Griffins were led by 16 points from Billy Baron and Jordan Heath.

The Cardinals return to action Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 when they travel to Fort Collins, Colo., to face Colorado State. The game against the Rams is slated to start at 2 (3 p.m. Central time) p.m.




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