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Lamar men's basketball drops second straight, falls to Abilene Christian, 77-62

The Cardinals return to action Wednesday when they host Nicholls. The game against the Colonels will tip off at 7 p.m.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Junior Davion Buster scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-9 (.779) shooting from three-point range, but it wasn't enough to help Lamar University hold off Abilene Christian falling 77-62 to the Wildcats Saturday afternoon at the Montagne Center.

The two teams shot nearly identical from the field as LU was 22-of-45 (.489) while Abilene Christian finished the game 49.2 percent, but the difference was ACU recorded eight more field goals. The Cardinals were blazing hot from long range knocking down 10-of-12 (.833) three-point attempts, but the visitors finished the night with one more make from beyond the arc (11-of-22).

The Wildcats also had a huge advantage in points off turnovers. Big Red turned the ball over 19 times which ACU converted into 19 points, while the Cards turned ACU's nine turnovers into just two points.

Buster was one of two Cardinals to finish the night in double figures as freshman Kasen Harrison added 15 points on 4-of-7 (.571) shooting. Sophomore David Muoka pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks.

The Wildcats were led by 17 points from Clay Gayman.

"Abilene Christian is a very good basketball team," said LU head coach Tic Price. "They don't beat themselves, and they're kids play hard until the final horn. The plan coming in was to deny the post, but we didn't do a very good job of pressuring the passer tonight. We felt like if we could slow down their inside game it gave us a chance, but we were not very good at doing that today."

Led by two Buster three-pointers, the Cardinals raced out to an 8-2, but the advantage didn't last long as ACU claimed a one-point lead less than two minutes later. Leading by one, the Wildcats rattled off a 14-5 run to build a 10-point advantage with 4:26 remaining in the half.

The Cardinals put a stop to the run with six consecutive points after baskets from Avery Sullivan, Buster and Muoka. Big Red trimmed the deficit down to four with just over two minutes remaining before the visitors scored the final four points of the half to take an eight-point lead into the locker room.

The Cardinals finished the opening half shooting 12-of-27 (.444) including a 4-of-5 (.800) effort from three-pointe range. Big Red was hurt by nine first-half turnovers which ACU cashed in for 11 points. The Wildcats only turned the ball over three times in the opening 20 minutes but couldn't convert them into points.

ACU finished the first half 14-of-35 (.400) from the field, including seven three-pointers. The Wildcats shot nearly 50 percent from long range in the opening 20 minutes converting 7-of-15 (.467) attempts. ACU also held a one-rebound advantage on the glass heading into the locker room.

Before the first media timeout of the second half, LU had trimmed the deficit down to five points following a Buster field goal. Unfortunately for the Red and White, ACU responded with a basket on the other end. Less than two minutes later the Wildcats pushed their advantage back to double digits. The Cardinals trimmed the deficit down to eight points following two Sullivan free throws at the 14:05 mark, but ACU followed with a Gayman basket and the deficit never got under 10 after that.

The Cardinals return to action Wednesday when they host Nicholls. The game against the Colonels will tip off at 7 p.m. from the Montagne Center. It will be broadcast live on Newstalk 560 and streamed live on ESPN+. 

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