Cards Fall in Double OT at Home

LAMAR BBALL.JPG

Senior Colton Weisbrod scored a career-high 38 points but Lamar University dropped a 100-91 decision to Central Arkansas in double overtime Saturday afternoon at the Montagne Center. The loss is just Big Red’s second home setback of the season.

“Give credit to Central Arkansas tonight,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “They came to our home and played very hard. They simply wanted it more than we did. When it comes down to it, we didn’t pass the toughness test. You have to make plays on the defensive end of the floor. That game never should’ve gone to overtime if we make the stop and get the rebound at the end of regulation.”

The back-n-forth affair saw 16 lead changes and 15 ties, and saw neither team gain larger than a seven-point advantage until the final basket of the game.

The Cardinals finished the game 31-of-80 (.388) from the field, but recorded one of their worst performances of the season from beyond the arc. LU could never find its rhythm from long range connecting on just 4-of-31 (.129) attempts.

Unfortunately, Big Red went cold at the most pivotal time of the game. LU was just 1-of-11 (.091) combined in the two overtime periods, while the Bears converted 7-of-15 attempts (.467).

The Cardinals got the best of UCA on the glass outrebounding the Bears, 58-51, including 20 offensive rebounds which led to a seven-point advantage in second-chance points. Big Red also outscored UCA, 50-34, in the paint.

Central Arkansas was 34-of-81 (.420) from the field, including 13 three-pointers. UCA finished the night with five players in double figures led by 27 points from Jordan Howard.

“Jordan Howard is a tough guy to cover,” said Price. “I thought Zjori gave us everything he had defensively.”

Weisbrod led all scorers with his 38 points, and recorded his sixth double-double of the season (11 rebounds). The Nederland native was joined in double figures by seniors Torey Noel and Zjori Bosha who each had 11 points. Bosha just missed a double-double with eight rebounds.

“Colton Weisbrod was amazing for us tonight,” said Price. “They really had a tough time guarding him. Colton needed more help and we didn’t give it to him.”

The Bears opened the game with a five-point lead, 11-5, but it was a lead that would quickly evaporate which would be the story of the night throughout regulation. LU responded by building a seven-point lead following a 5-0 run at the 6:19 mark of the opening half, 34-27. The Bears countered by scoring the game’s next five points. UCA would eventually take a three-point lead, 39-36, with less than two remaining in the half. The Cardinals responded by getting an and-one from Noel and two free throws from Weisbrod to take a two-point lead into the locker room.

The Bears scored the first six points of the second half as the back-n-forth theme continued. The four-point lead would be the largest margin until the 7:18 mark when UCA grabbed a five-point lead following a three-pointer from Howard. Showing complete poise, the Cardinals responded with a three-pointer from senior Joey Frenchwood and would eventually tie the game at 72 with 4:31 remaining.

Neither team would gain larger than a three-point lead for the remainder of regulation. Following a UCA basket to take a one-point lead, the Cards got the ball in Weisbrod’s hands who was fouled going to the basket. Weisbrod converted both free throws to give LU a one-point advantage with 19 seconds remaining.

Following a timeout to setup their final play, UCA got the ball in the hands of their leading scorer – Howard – for the final shot. His baseline jumper was blocked by Bosha. UCA’s De’Andre Jones picked up the loose ball and rush a quick shot which hit the back of the rim with less than a second on the clock but the Bears were bailed out on the play by a whistle with one-tenth of a second remaining on the clock. Following a video review, the officials added .03 back to the clock and put Hayden Koval on the free throw line to shoot. He made only one free throw to send the game to overtime.

Despite hitting just one field goal and going 4-of-8 (.500) from the stripe in the first overtime, the Cardinals managed to push the game to a second overtime. The Bears struck first in the second overtime on a three-ball from Thatch Unruh. The Cardinals got two free throws from Weisbrod to pull back within a point, 89-88. UCA responded with an and-one from Jones on its next possession followed by a Koval free throw.

After Weisbrod was able to cut the deficit back to four at the free throw line with just 1:58 to play, the Bears got the shot they were looking for to put an end to LU’s thoughts of a third overtime. Jones hit a three-pointer with 1:33 remaining to give the visitors a seven-point lead with 1:33 to play. The Cardinals were unable to score again after that as UCA added one final score in the game’s final minute.

The Cardinals return to action Wednesday when they host Southeastern Louisiana. The game against SLU will tip off at 7 p.m. from the Montagne Center. It can be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI and seen live on ESPN3.

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