Sam Houston crashes boards to knock off Lamar 68-57
BEAUMONT – Sam Houston State took advantage of 19 offensive rebounds Thursday evening at the Montagne Center to overcome its poor shooting and hand Lamar University a 68-57 Southland Conference men's basketball loss.
The Bearkats (9-6 overall, 2-1 in the Southland) outrebounded Lamar 43-32 on the evening and converted their 19 offensive rebounds into 21 second chance points. Combined with the 21 points it scored off LU's 20 turnovers, Sam Houston State was able to offset a 37.5 percent shooting effort.
"We just stood," said LU head coach Pat Knight about his team's rebounding effort. "Guys had it go right over their heads. Anytime you give up 21 points off rebounds and 28 off turnovers, there's nothing you can do. That's the ball game. I mean our defense was really good.
"They just outhustled us. Every time we started making a run, we committed a mistake whether it was a turnover, bad shot, not getting a rebound, just something that was a mistake. You can't do that at the Division I level and get away with it."
With the loss, Lamar falls to 2-14 on the year and 0-4 in Southland Conference play. Lamar will look to snap its four-game losing streak Saturday evening when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi visits the Montagne Center for a 6 p.m. tip.
The Cardinals never led in the game, trailing 33-29 at the half. Sam Houston opened the second half on a 17-7 run to build a 50-36 lead with 11:43 to play. Lamar battled back and a Rhon Mitchell dunk at the 7:29 mark pulled the Cardinals to within five points at 52-47.
With just under six minutes to play, however, Sam Houston started to pull away behind 13-of-15 free throw shooting in the second half. Terrance Motley slammed home a fast break bucket to give the Bearkats a 60-49 lead with 3:49 on the clock and their lead would not drop below double-digits the rest of the way.
The Cardinals were a solid 11-of-22 from the floor in the second half and shot 42.0 percent for the game. However, Sam Houston took 14 more field goal attempts than Lamar, and the Cards failed to make a 3-pointer for the third time in their last four outings.
The Bearkats were just 3-of-14 from 3-point range in the game, but shot a robust 17-of-20 (85.0 percent) from the free throw line. Guard Darius Gatson, who was just 1-of-6 from the floor, hit all eight of his free throw attempts en route to 11 points.
Lamar got 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals from Amos Wilson. The junior forward was also 6-of-6 from the free throw line, while the rest of the Cardinals finished 9-of-16.
Freshman Keilan Blanks came off the bench to add 11 points and four assists and senior guard Donley Minor finished with 10 points and three assists.
Motley led all players with 14 points off the Bearkats' bench as Sam Houston outscored Lamar 35-20 in bench points. The junior forward added eight rebounds, while starting center Michael Holyfield led all players with nine boards.
The game stayed close early on as a Blanks jumper at the 14:22 mark tied the score at 10-10. The Bearkats then reeled off 12 straight points to build a 22-10 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the first half.
Blanks knocked home another jumper to stop the Bearkats and jumpstart a 15-4 LU run that made the score 26-25 with four minutes to play. SHSU scored the next seven points before Blanks and Minor closed the first half with back-to-back jumpers.