TULSA, Okla. – Junior Nick Garth scored a game-high 23 point and senior Colton Weisbrod recorded his 11th career double-double to lead Lamar University to a season-opening victory at Tulsa, 74-67, Friday afternoon at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
“I’m very proud of this team today,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “Tulsa is a very good basketball team so we knew after we got that lead they would make a run at us. We have a veteran lineup this year, and these guys are battled tested, when came down to crunch time our guys just found a way to get into the winner’s circle.”
The Southland’s returning leader in double-doubles last season, Weisbrod picked up where he left in 2016-17 with 15 points and 13 rebounds, but he was held relatively in check in the first half – three points and six rebounds.
LU shot 42 percent from the field, including seven three-point field goals, and took advantage of their attempts from the free throw line (17-21/.810). The Cardinals also dominated the glass outrebounding Tulsa, 42-28.
The Golden Hurricane shot 50 percent in the second half but that wasn’t good enough to overcome 15 turnovers and a 26-percent clip from beyond the arc. Tulsa was led by 18 points from Sterling Taplin, but even he finished 7-of-18 (.389) from the field.
Big Red jumped out to a quick start behind Garth’s 13 first-half points to build an early six-point advantage, 8-2. Tulsa responded with a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game just moments later, 9-8, but the Cardinals never quit fighting.
The score remained a one-possession game with both teams alternating the lead until the Cardinals went on an 8-0 run to build a seven-point advantage. Senior Zjori Bosha added to that lead when he picked off a pass and took it the length of the floor for the layup to push the Cards’ lead to nine, 29-20, with just over five minutes remaining. LU would push its lead to 11 points before going into the locker room with a 37-28 lead.
The Cardinals finished the half shooting 50 percent (13-of-26) from the field while outrebounding the Golden Hurricane, 21-16. Tulsa was 11-of-23 (.478) from the field but the Cardinals made them pay for their eight turnovers. LU scored seven points off the Golden Hurricane’s mistakes in the opening 20 mintues.
After having their lead trimmed to six points midway through the second half, the Cardinals went back on the attack pushing its lead to 16. Tulsa had one final run left in them cutting deficit down to a single-point, twice with less than six minutes on the clock. Both times Tulsa had the ball with an opportunity to take the lead but could not convert. The Cardinals hit their free throws down the stretch to walk away with the victory.
Tulsa had the lead just twice in the contest, and both of those leads came early in the opening half and both were just one-point advantages. The Golden Hurricane led for a total of 33 seconds of game time.
Oklahoma native Torey Noel got the start at point guard and finished the game with 11 points and six assists, while senior Zjori Bosha added 13 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Big Red will be back in action Tuesday when they host Coastal Carolina in the 2017-18 home opener. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. from the Montagne Center, and will kick off a season-long four-game homestand for the Cardinals.