KATY, Texas — The season came to an end for the Cardinals Thursday night after the losing a tough game to New Orleans, 76-72.

Lamar was hoping to build off a dramatic victory in the first round, beating Houston Baptist 81-79 the night before.

Tons of red filled the Leonard E. Merrell Center and the Cardinals faithful had a lot to cheer for early on.

It was a game of runs that began with Lamar jumping out to a six point lead.

One man who played like he didn't want his season to end was senior guard Nick Garth, a Houston native.

He hit three 3-pointers in the first half to lead the team with 15 points at the break.

However, turnovers and second chance points allowed the Privateers to pull ahead by as much as 14.

The Cardinals were able to soar into halftime on a 12-0 run to keep the game within a possession. 

New Orleans came out hot, starting the second half with a 9-2 run.

Yet, coach Price's squad fought back once again and finally took the lead with 9:22 remaining in the game.  

From then on, it was a back and forth affair, with the lead changing multiple times.

Following a goal tending call with 50 seconds left to give Lamar the lead, Privateer's junior guard Bryson Robinson crushed the Cardinal's hopes of advancing.

With 23 seconds remaining, Robinson threw up a contested three-point attempt from the top of the key that hit nothing but net.

Lamar called timeout down a point and drew up a play to drive the ball inside, but were forced to put it in the hands of freshman guard Davion Buster.

Buster launched a deep three-pointer near his bench, but the shot bounced off the front of the rim and New Orleans grabbed the rebound.

The Cardinals quickly fouled, but only one second remained on the clock.

Privateer's sophomore guard Damion Rosser clinched the win, sinking both free throws to send his team onto the semifinals against #1 Sam Houston State on Friday. 

Garth had a huge night in what would be his final game in red, finishing with a game-high 28 points.

"It's just been a blessing to try and build a culture at Lamar and get to the tournament," says Garth. "Hopefully, they can take off and win us a championship one of these years."

The other senior, forward Josh Nzeakor ended his career with a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds).

Buster added 14 points off the bench.

Although the loss ends Lamar's season, they do finish with a record of 20-13, the best since 2011-12.

They also won a conference tournament game for the second time in the last three years.

Signs point in the right direction for Coach Price's team going forward as a lot of underclassmen experienced success this year, which they hope translates into next season. .