LU Men fall 74-63 to Nicholls
BEAUMONT – Amos Wilson scored a career-high 23 points Tuesday evening at the Montagne Center, and Rhon Mitchell added his fourth double-double of the season, but visiting Nicholls was able to hold off a late Lamar University rally and pick up a 74-63 Southland Conference basketball victory.
Wilson, who was 10-of-15 from the floor in the contest, scored 12 in the first half and 11 in the second half as Lamar tried to dig itself out of a hole that reached as high as 18 points. The junior transfer would add seven rebounds and four assists for one of his best games as a Cardinal.
The defending Southland Conference Tournament champion Cardinals are in danger of missing this year’s tournament, falling to 3-23 on the year and 1-13 in conference play. Lamar is three games out of the eight seed with four conference games left to play.
Lamar was still down 17 at the 10:40 mark after Pedro Maciel drained one of Nicholls’ nine 3-pointers in the game to make the score 58-41. The Cards would then go on a 19-9 run to make it a 67-60 score with 3:20 to play.
T.J. Carpenter, who came off the NSU bench to score a team-high 17 points, rebounded his own miss and laid it back in to push the lead to 69-60 with 3:04 to play. After a Wilson turnover, Fred Hunter scored on a feed from Maciel and the Colonels’ lead was back to double-figures with less than two minutes to play.
Senior guard Donley Minor hit a pair of free throws with 1:14 on the clock to get Lamar within eight points at 71-63, but Maciel answered with two free throws and Amin Torres added one more with nine seconds to play to close the scoring.
The Colonels (7-17 overall, 6-8 in the Southland) opened the game hot from long distance, hitting 7-of-11 3-point attempts in the first half in building a 45-28 lead at the intermission. Carpenter scored 14 of his points in the 20 minutes, including 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
“We have to start getting off to better starts,” said LU head coach Pat Knight. “We end up in too big a hole and just aren’t able to dig our way out. We finally get a sense of urgency, but by then it’s too late. We have to come out playing like that.
“It’s really not practice anymore because you can’t learn anything new at this point of the year. We have to start doing it in the game. I want to see some improvement in the game situation because that’s where it counts.”
Lamar would finish the game with a 38-30 rebound advantage, but committed 19 turnovers which Nicholls turned into 24 points. Despite giving up more offensive rebounds than they grabbed, the Colonels also enjoyed a 13-9 edge in second chance points.
The Cardinals finished the game shooting 43.4 percent from the floor and a solid 17-of-22 from the free throw line. For the eighth time this season, Lamar failed to hit a 3-pointer in the game, finishing 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Mitchell finished the night with 14 points and 10 rebounds, adding two of LU’s five blocked shots and a pair of assists. The redshirt freshman went 6-of-16 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the free throw line for his 13th double-figure scoring game of the year.
Senior forward Stan Brown just missed out on a double-double for the Cards, scoring nine points and grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds. Minor finished with just four points, but matched a career-high with seven assists.
Hunter added 15 points and four assists for the Colonels. The Cardinals did a fairly good job of limiting the Southland’s leading scorer to just eight shot attempts. Hunter came into the contest averaging 19.6 points per game.
Lamar will leave conference play Saturday evening at 6 p.m. when former league foe Texas State pays a visit to the Montagne Center. For ticket information, call (409) 880-1715, or visit http://www.lamarcardinals.com/tickets/mhoops-tickets.html.Wednesday, April 23 2014, 11:23 AM CDT