Cardinals Return to Montagne Center
Lamar set for Southland Conference home opener against Nicholls State
BEAUMONT, Texas – After a tough five-game stretch that took the Lamar Cardinals (1-13/0-2 SLC) from New York to Colorado and into the start of Southland Conference play, the LU men enter Thursday's conference home opener against Nicholls State looking to put an end to a 10-game skid. The Cardinals will square off against one of the four team's that enters the day in a tie for first in the conference standings. Nicholls State (5-6/2-0 SLC) has won three of its last four games including consecutive wins over New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana, and has won three straight in the series, but trails Lamar 22-9 (.710) all-time.
Despite entering the week near the bottom of the league in scoring offense, scoring margin, field goal percentage, three-point field-goal percent and free throw percentage, the Colonels have found a way to get the job done in their first two Southland games of the season. The Colonels won a high-scoring affair, 88-83, in the conference-opening win over New Orleans, and returned to the court two days later to defeat rival Southeastern Louisiana in a defensive struggle by three, 64-61.
Lamar's offense has ranked up near the league's best over the course of the past seven games. The Cardinals are coming off a game that saw them shoot better than 50 percent from the field, including a season-high eight three-pointers, and score 85 points at Northwestern State. It is the third time this season Lamar has shot at least 50 percent for a game, and the eighth time the Cards have shot better than 50 percent in a half. During the seven-game stretch, Lamar is averaging nearly 77 points per game.
Lamar's rise in offensive production has run parallel to the improved production of junior college transfer Anthony Holliday. Following a slow start, Holliday has turned it around for the Cardinals. After scoring a total of 13 points, pulling down four rebounds and dishing out seven assists in the first nine games, Holliday is averaging 9.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the team's past four games, including back-to-back double-figure scoring games.
The Colonels are led by one of the league's top players in senior Dantrell Thomas. A 6-2 guard from Many, La., Thomas is currently ninth in the league in scoring averaging just under 16 points per game. He is also the team's top rebounder pulling down five per game.
Lamar continues to be led by junior transfer Nimrod Hilliard. Ranked fifth in the league in scoring (16.4 ppg) and second in assists (4.8 pg), Hilliard has scored in double figures in all 14 games this season, and is coming off a career-high 29-point outing at Northwestern State. Hilliard is one of four Cardinals averaging 9.9 points per game or better.
A return to Beaumont to face the Colonels could be exactly what the doctor ordered to put an end to the early-season slide. Lamar is a 15-2 all-time against the Colonels in the Montagne Center. Thursday's game is a schedule doubleheader with the Lamar women's basketball team and is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m.