FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Lamar Cardinals shot 52 percent in the second half, and 47 percent for the contest but were never able to slow down a Colorado State team that shot 35-of-68 (.515) from the field, and outrebounded Lamar, 46-31. The Rams posted an 86-71 victory over Lamar Saturday afternoon at Moby Arena.
The Cardinals (1-11) were unable to put an end to an eight-game skid, while CSU improved to 9-4 on the season.
The Rams let the crowd know early on it was going to be a big offensive night burying seven of their first nine shots (.778) to build a 13-point advantage, 19-6. While the Rams started the game on fire, Lamar could only manage a 3-of-9 (.333) start.
The Cardinals didn't let the deficit get any bigger as they began to heat up from the floor. Lamar knocked down 10-of-their-next-19 shots cutting CSU's lead to six points with 7:34 remaining in the half. Lamar kept up the pace offensively but went into the locker room trailing by 10, 43-33, at halftime.
Despite shooting 43 percent in the opening half, the Cardinals were struggling to slow down their hosts. The Rams connected on nearly 52 percent of their shots in the opening half led by J.J. Avila's 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting. Lamar was also outrebounded by four in the opening 20 minutes but the Cardinals held the advantage in second chance points, 8-2, at the intermission.
Lamar continued to shoot the ball well in the second half connecting on nearly 52 percent of their attempts. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, CSU always seemed to have an answer. For the majority of the game, that answer came in the form of Avila who finished the day with 33 points on 14-of-17 (.824) shooting. The Rams' Daniel Bejarano provided a spark from three-point range knocking down three triples. He finished the game with 19 points and 18 rebounds. CSU matched Lamar's second-half shooting performance connecting on 51 percent of their shots from the field in the final 20 minutes.
The setback was the first time in the past three games that Lamar has been beat on the boards, 46-31. It was also the first time in three games LU didn't have four players reach double digits. Junior Nimrod Hilliard extended his double-figure scoring streak to 12 games when he hit a three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining. He added another three before the final buzzer to lead Lamar with 15 points. Hilliard was joined in double figures by sophomore Rhon Mitchell who chipped in 12.
Lamar returns to action Thursday when they travel to Nacogdoches, Texas to open Southland Conference play against Stephen F. Austin. The game against the Lumberjacks is slated to tip off at 8 p.m. from the William R. Johnson Coliseum.