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November 23, 2011

LU grabs win at UT-Martin

MARTIN, TN. — Devon Lamb tied his career-high with 23 points Tuesday night at the Elam Center, and the Cardinals shot a blistering 60.9 percent from the floor, as Lamar University rolled to an 80-69 road win over UT Martin in the final basketball contest of the Global Sports Invitational.

  The Cardinals, who will play at Tennessee Tech on Friday at 7 p.m., improved their record to 3-2 on the year as they picked up their first win away from the Montagne Center. UT Martin fell to 1-4 with the loss.

  Lamar was especially potent from the floor in the second half as it shot a staggering 71.4 percent by hitting 15-of-21 field goal attempts. The Cards hit 21-of-25 from the free throw line for the game to produce their biggest scoring output of the young season.

  “I thought it was an ugly win over a scrappy team,” said LU head coach Pat Knight. “I was worried about having some hangover after beating a big team (Charlotte) at home on Saturday, but I was very happy with the way we shot the ball.

  “To score 80 points and only take six 3-pointers means you are cutting and taking it to the basket. Guys hit big shots, and to win on the road is always big.”

  After leading 34-29 at the half, Lamar stretched its lead to 10 with 11:33 to play in the game on a steal and dunk by Charlie Harper that made it 54-44. The Cardinals could not put the Skyhawks away, though, as UTM knocked down 53.6 percent of its shots in the second half to stay in the game.

  A Mike Liabo jumper in the lane capped a 14-8 run over the next 6:39 that pulled the Skyhawks to within four points at 62-58. Brandon Davis knocked down a trey 19 seconds later to put Lamar ahead by seven.

  Liabo, who led the Skyhawks with 20 points off the bench, got it back to five at 65-60 with 4:13 to play. However, Anthony Miles hit a 17-footer from the right wing, and Lamb buried a 3-pointer right after that to put Lamar ahead 70-60 with 3:18 on the clock.

  UTM got to within eight points once after that, but Lamar went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final minute, and Lamb and Davis ran a perfect 2-on-1 fast break for a layup, to ensure the LU victory.

  Lamar had a slight 29-27 rebound advantage over UTM, but the Skyhawks did convert 11 offensive rebounds into an 11-6 advantage in second chance points. While both teams committed just 14 turnovers, Lamar had a substantial 20-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

  After going scoreless two games ago against Ohio, Lamb broke out of his scoring slump in a major way. The 6-foot-2 wing was 9-of-10 from the floor, 2-of-2 from long range and made three of his four free throw attempts. He added a game-high eight rebounds.

  Miles added 18 points, four rebounds and four assists for Lamar, while Harper finished with 13 points and seven boards.

  Stan Brown and Tre Lynch gave Lamar a lift off the bench. Brown finished with eight points and four boards in 21 minutes of playing time, while Lynch scored a career-high six points and dished out three assists with no turnovers in 15 minutes of work.

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