Nicholls edges Lamar

BEAUMONT, Texas – Despite having five players score in double figures, the Lamar Cardinals could not overcome a 7-of-25 (.280) second-half shooting percentage falling to Nicholls State (6-6/3-0 SLC), 64-60, Thursday night at the Montagne Center. The loss drops the Cardinals to 1-14 on the season, and 0-3 in Southland play.

"I thought we came out in the first half focused, playing with a lot of intensity" said senior Amos Wilson "But in the second half, we came out flat. We didn't play quite as hard, and I don't think we came out of the locker room ready to play. Nicholls did a good of jumping on us and we had to battle back the rest of the way."

Senior Amos Wilson recorded his first double-double of the season scoring a team-high 14 points, and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. He was one of five Cardinals to hit double figures, including junior Nimrod Hilliard who added 13, and extended his double-figure scoring streak to 15 games. The LU duo helped Lamar record another strong half from the field knocking down 12-of-21 (.571) attempts. 

Lamar built an early eight-point lead, 18-10, with 12:49 remaining in the opening half, but the Colonels slowly began chipping away at the lead. The visitors battled back to claim their first lead of the game, 21-20, on a Shane Rillieux jumper with 6:16 on the clock. The rest of the half was a back-and-forth affair that saw Lamar tie the game at 32 on a couple of Hilliard free throws with seven seconds remaining. It was just enough time for the Colonels' Rillieux to get off one more shot to give NSU a two-point advantage heading into the locker room.

Despite eight first-half turnovers, Lamar managed to neutralize the damage by allowing Nicholls to score only five points off the extra possessions. Nicholls gained a huge advantage from its bench in the opening half outscoring the Lamar reserves, 11-0.

Unfortunately, it wasn't more of the same for the LU offense in second half. The Cardinals, who have been one of the league's top shooting teams over the course of the past seven games struggled to a 7-of-25 performance in the final 20 minutes. Despite struggling from the floor in the second, Lamar didn't allow the Colonels to run away and hide. Nicholls could only push its advantage to seven points in the final 20 minutes. 

LU found itself facing that seven-point deficit with 5:07 remaining, when the Cardinals began chipping away at the lead from the free throw line hitting five of their next six attempts to pull within two, 60-58, with just under three minutes remaining, but the Colonels responded with consecutive baskets to put the game away but Lamar could manage only two more points the rest of the way.

Lamar finished the game 19-of-46 (.413) from the field and was only outrebounded by one, 33-32. The Colonels shot 50 percent from the field in the second half, and finished the game 26-of-57 (.456). Nicholls' bench provided a huge boost outscoring Lamar reserves, 21-0.
 Holliday continues to show signs of becoming an offensive weapon for Lamar. He scored 10 points for the third consecutive game. Junior Donovan Ross scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while sophomore Rhon Mitchell added 11.

The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they host rival McNeese State. The game against the Cowboys is slated to begin at 6 p.m. from the Montagne Center.




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