Lamar comeback falls short in 67-63 loss to SELA
BEAUMONT – Lamar University battled back from a nine-point halftime deficit Monday evening at the Montagne Center, but a barrage of missed shots late cost the Cardinals in a 67-63 Southland Conference men’s basketball loss to visiting Southeastern Louisiana.
Senior guard Donley Minor drove the lane and had a layup to tie the contest with five seconds to play, but his shot was off the mark and SLU’s Dre Evans cleared the rebound. Evans, who led all players with 20 points, would hit both free throws after being fouled by D.J. Muepo to secure the Lions’ victory.
Lamar, which will host Sam Houston State on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m., fell to 2-13 on the year and 0-3 in Southland Conference play. The Lions picked up their second straight conference win to improve to 4-9 on the year and 2-1 in the league.
“Our shooting was awful,” said LU head coach Pat Knight. “We dug ourselves a hole early on, but did a good job coming back to regain the lead. We just don’t hit shots around the basket and you can’t shoot 36 percent and expect to win a lot of games.
“I thought our defense was good and our rebounding was really good, but you’ve got to finish around the bucket. We were able to take the lead back, but missing shots around the bucket really hurt us and ultimately cost us the game.”
After trailing 37-28 at the half, Lamar opened the second half on a 12-7 run to pull within four points at 44-40 with 12:56 to play. The Lions pushed the lead back to 10 with six straight points, but Lamar would not go away.
Lamar took its first lead since the score was 2-0 when Amos Wilson knocked home a jumper to give the Cardinals a 57-56 lead with 5:16 on the clock. Freshman Keilan Blanks, who scored 14 points off the bench, extended the lead to 61-58 with 3:22 to play after a pair of free throws.
Rhon Mitchell, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year, ended a 4-0 SLU run with a jumper at the 59 second mark that put the Cardinals on top 63-62.It would be Lamar’s last lead in the contest as SLU scored the final five points.
Brandon Fortenberry hit the go ahead score as he drove the lane for a tough layup. The senior guard was fouled by Wilson and completed the three-point play by knocking down the free throw that gave the Lions a 65-63 lead.
Lamar outrebounded SLU 44-32 on the night, including grabbing 22 offensive rebounds. However, the Cards’ inability to hit from close range left them with just a slight 18-13 advantage in second chance points.
The Lions were able to make up for their lack of rebounding by shooting 47.3 percent from the floor in the game, including a healthy 52.4 percent in the second half. The Cards finished at 36.9 percent, their third straight game under 41 percent.
In addition to his 14 points and game-high 10 boards, Mitchell added three assists and three of LU’s four blocked shot in the contest. Coming off the bench for just the third time this season, Mitchell scored 10 in the second half with several key shots coming during Lamar’s late run.
Blanks was an efficient 3-of-4 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. The freshman guard also hit Lamar’s only 3-pointer of the game, its first made shot from beyond the arc in three outings.
Wilson added 12 points, five rebounds and three steals, while Stan Brown finished with nine points and six caroms. Muepo, making his second straight start, added six points, seven rebounds and three steals.
SLU got 15 points and four rebounds from Johnson, while Antonnio Benton and Roger Woods each pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Lions.
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 10:23 AM CDT