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Sluggish Start Dooms Cards in SLC Loss

The Cardinals will be back in action Saturday when they host Abilene Christian. The game against the Wildcats will tip off at 4:30 p.m. from the Montagne Center. It

BEAUMONT, Texas — Junior Davion Buster scored a team-high 19 points, but he was one of only two Cardinals to finish in double figures as Lamar University dropped a 67-58 decision to UIW Wednesday evening in the Montagne Center.

Buster was one of two Cardinals to finish in double figures for an offense that struggled out of the gate. Big Red opened the game just 1-of-7 and three for its first 20 as they fall to 4-12 (.250) overall and 2-5 (.286) in Southland Conference play.

The Cardinals finished 21-of-56 (.375) from the field, including six three-pointers (after shooting better than 50 percent in the second half), but never gained an advantage on the glass getting outrebounded, 38-28. LU also struggled to make their guests pay with they coughed up the ball. LU forced the visiting Cardinals into 14 turnovers but managed just nine points off those miscues.

Junior Quinlan Bennett joined Buster in double figures with 10 points.

UIW shot 21-of-46 (.457) from the field, including a nine three-pointers (.563). Keaston Willis led San Antonio's Cardinals with 22 points.

"This is a tough loss tonight," said LU head coach Tic Price. "We knew coming in that UIW is a very good team. They have good shooters up and down their roster. We dug ourselves and early hole and couldn't get out. We hung in there and had some opportunities in the second half but we didn't get the job done.

"We really didn't defend well overall but we improved in the second half. I thought their big guy hit some big shots down the stretch which really knocked the wind out of us. Facts are, they did what they needed to do to get the win and we didn't," added Price.

Neither team got off to a great start offensively, with only six points being scored at the first media timeout. The two teams opened the game just a combined 2-for-12 from the field, but it was the visitors who heated up first knocking down five of their next 10 attempts, while LU opened the game just 3-for-20.

UIW took advantage of the Cardinals slow start pushing their lead to 11 points with 6:24 remaining in the opening half. San Antonio's version of the Cardinals built their lead to as many as 15 before LU trimmed the deficit 12 heading into the locker room.

The Cardinals never found their range in the opening half converting just seven field-goal attempts (four of them threes) and shooting just 23 percent. While UIW finished the half 11-of-24 (.458), including a 6-of-9 (.667) effort on threes. The visiting Cardinals also outrebounded LU by 11 in the opening 20 minutes.

It was a different LU squad coming out of the locker room. The Red and White opened the half on a 10-1 run to pull within three before the first media timeout of the half. The run was sparked by a couple of Quinlan Bennett baskets and a nice feed to Harrison to assist on a third. Unfortunately, UIW responded and pushed the lead back to nine points coming out of the timeout. The lead grew to 12, 45-33, following a Logan Bracamonte three, but the good guys would respond.

The Cardinals rattled off a 7-0 run to pull within five, 45-40, on a Davion Buster triple with 9:50 remaining in the contest. Unfortunately, the Cardinals couldn't keep the run going as UIW responded with a 13-2 run to push their advantage to 16 points with just under six minutes remaining. Sophomore David Muoka put a momentary stop to the run with a layup at the 4:39 mark.

The Cardinals managed to trim the deficit down to single digits in the closing minutes but ran out of time as UIW held on for the victory.

The Cardinals will be back in action Saturday when they host Abilene Christian. The game against the Wildcats will tip off at 4:30 p.m. from the Montagne Center. It will be broadcast live on Newstalk 560 KLVI and streamed live on ESPN+. 

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