Lamar picks up first SLC win at AMCC
CORPUS CHRISTI - Senior guard Donley Minor hit a step back 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds to play Thursday evening at American Bank Center to cap a 13-4 Lamar University run and lift the Cardinals to a 67-63 Southland Conference men's basketball victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Minor, who finished with 16 points, hit three straight treys during the Cardinals' final run but none was bigger than the last. After nearly losing the dribble, Minor recovered and pulled the trigger on a shot that snapped LU's 10-game losing streak and gave the Cards a 65-63 advantage.
"He (Hameed Ali) ended up gambling and I lost the ball but I gained it back," said Minor about the final shot. "I just had it in my mind that we're not going to lose. I went at him and I had just hit a couple of other threes so I felt confident. I'm the senior and it's my job to pull it out."
The Islanders (2-18 overall, 1-9 in the Southland) turned the ball over on the ensuing play as they tried a long pass down the court. Minor was then fouled and knocked down both free throws with 1.6 seconds to play to provide the final margin.
Lamar (3-20 overall, 1-10 in the Southland) trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half and was still down 59-51 with 3:21 to play after Nate Maxey hit a put back layup. Senior Stan Brown, who led all players with 22 points, converted a three-point play to make it 59-54 with 2:50 on the clock.
After an Ali baseline jumper pushed the Islanders' lead to 61-54, Minor hit the first of his three straight treys at the two minute mark. Donell Minton cleared the rebound of a Joy Williamson miss and got the ball to Minor for another triple which made it 61-60 with 1:26 to play.
Ali then missed a 3-pointer for the Islanders and the Cards pushed it ahead to Rhon Mitchell. The redshirt freshman missed his first layup attempt, but rebounded the miss and put it in to give the Cards a 62-61 lead with 45 seconds to play. It was LU's first lead since a 19-17 advantage with 7:19 to play in the first half.
Johnathan Jordan, who led all players with eight assists, then got to the rim to hit a go-ahead layup for the Islanders with 32 seconds on the clock. It would prove to be the final points for AMCC as Minor scored the next five to give the Cards their first Southland win of the season.
"I give Stan and Donley all the credit," said LU head coach Pat Knight." When we were down 10, Stan Brown was in the huddle saying `it's not over.' That's what seniors are supposed to do from a leadership standpoint in the huddle to making big plays.
"I'll give our guys credit. We weren't shooting the ball (well) but they never wavered in their confidence. No one was pouting in the huddles and the guys really came together tonight. Now we've put two games together where we really played well and competed."
Brown and Minor carried the Cardinals down the stretch. The two seniors scored 27 of their combined 38 points in the second half as Lamar shot 45.2 percent from the floor. Minor finished the game 4-of-6 from 3-point range and Brown was 7-of-10 from the floor, just missing a double-double with nine rebounds.
Lamar pounded the Islanders on the boards, outrebounding them 45-29. The Cards grabbed 18 offensive rebounds and enjoyed a 14-9 advantage in second chance points. While Lamar finished with 16 turnovers to the Islanders' 10, AMCC outscored Lamar just 10-7 in points off turnovers.
Mitchell notched his third double-double of the year for the Cardinals, scoring 13 points and pulling down a career- and game-high 13 rebounds. He would shoot just 3-of-14 from the floor, but did make good on seven of his nine free throw attempts.
Lamar finished the game with one less field goal than the Islanders, but hit the same number of 3-pointers on far less attempts. LU was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and AMCC settled for abysmal 4-of-21 shooting. The Cards also hit 17-of-22 from the free throw line as compared to 11-of-14 aim for the hosts.
Only one Islander would score in double-figures and that was Joy Williamson off the bench with 12 points. Leading scorer Will Nelson, who had 13 points and nine boards in AMCC's 62-56 win in Beaumont earlier this season, finished with just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Zane Knowles came off the Islanders' bench to register nine points, a team-high eight rebound and three blocked shots. Jordan, who came in averaging 13.1 points per game, managed just seven.
Lamar opened the game solid and had built a 10-4 lead with 15:38 to play in the first half on a Brown tip-in. The Islanders would then go on a 7-0 run to grab an 11-10 lead and the game would stay close the rest of the first half.
With the game tied at 26, Nelson would hit his only 3-pointer of the game to give the Islanders a 29-26 advantage. Brown then hit two free throws and Knowles closed the first half scoring with a tip-in at the 30-second mark that gave the Islanders a 31-28 advantage at the break.
Lamar, which had been 0-14 on the road this season, will look for its second straight conference victory Saturday afternoon at Sam Houston State. The game is set for 3:45 p.m. and can be heard on KLVI 560 AM.
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 11:23 AM CDT