Lamar comeback falls five points short
BEAUMONT, Texas – The Lamar Cardinals (1-8) rallied from 19 points down in the second half to tie the game with four minutes remaining, but were unable to take the lead in the final minutes against Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles (6-6) escaped Beaumont with a 79-74 victory over Lamar Sunday afternoon.
“This was two totally different teams,” said head coach Pat Knight. “What we got in the first half was no different than last year’s team. We didn’t change anything at halftime, but told them they need to play with some passion. You could see it in (Tennessee Tech). They started the game with a lot passion and were communicating. If you play good for only one half you’re not going to win many games, especially against good teams.”
Senior Amos Wilson led the Cardinals’ second-half surge finishing the game with 20 points and five rebounds. Wilson connected on 4-of-7 (.571) attempts, and 12-of-15 (.800) from the free throw line but fouled out of the game with less than two minutes remaining.
Wilson was one of three Cardinals in double figures. Freshman Marcus Owens scored 19 points, including a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line, while Nimrod Hilliard added 18 points. Hilliard tied for team-high honors with five boards, and a team-high seven assists.
Tennessee Tech shot nearly 67 percent in the first half to build a 42-29 lead at the intermission. The Golden Eagles came out of the locker room and pushed their advantage to 19 points, 56-37, with 15:10 remaining. With Tennessee Tech looking for the knockout punch, the Cards began to claw their way back into the contest.
LU utilized a 22-4 run to cut the visitors’ lead down to one point, 60-59, with 8:28 remaining in the contest. Following consecutive Tech layups to push the lead back to five points LU responded with another run to tie the game at 66 with just over four minutes remaining. Owens tied the game by converting all of his free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt, but Lamar would get no closer.
The Golden Eagles went on an 8-0 run, and held Lamar off the scoreboard until 37 remaining. A Hilliard three-pointer pulled Lamar with three with 22 seconds on the clock but Ty Allen was able to convert free throws on the other end to put the game away.
Tennessee Tech finished the game with four players in double digits led by Dennis Ogbe’s 17 points. Ladon Carter added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Lamar returns to action Wednesday when they travel to Brooklyn, N.Y. to take on LIU-Brooklyn. The game against the Blackbirds is slated to begin at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. Central time). Lamar will follow that up with a game three days later at Canisius.