BEAUMONT – Facing a must-win situation Thursday night, the Lamar men’s
basketball team battled for 50 minutes before succumbing to visiting Central
Arkansas 106-99 in a double overtime thriller that eliminated the Cardinals from
qualifying for the Southland Conference Tournament.
The loss drops Lamar to 3-25 overall and 1-14 in league play. The Bears, who
improved to 11-16 on the year and 5-11 in the conference, now hold a four game
lead on the Cardinals for the eighth and final spot in the Southland Tournament.
With just three games remaining, Lamar will not be able to go to Katy (site of
the tournament) to defend its 2012 title.
“I’m proud of the guys from an effort standpoint, but that only gets you so
far,” said LU head coach Pat Knight who led Lamar to its sixth NCAA Tournament
appearance a year ago. “We just made costly mistakes that cost us the game.
“I’m happy for the kids, they haven’t given up. They fought hard. From a
coaching standpoint, you can’t make the mistakes at the end of the game that
we did that cost us the game. We have guys that really haven’t been in the
crunch time situation and I think they get a little too excited and kind of lose
The Cardinals came back from 13 points down in the second half and were clinging
to a 2-point lead in regulation when LaQuentin Miles hit a short jumper in the
lane with 11 seconds to play to tie the game at 75. Donley Minor had a look for
the Cardinals with six seconds on the clock but couldn’t convert.
It was Miles again who saved the day for UCA in the first overtime. Lamar’s
Rhon Mitchell, who finished with a career-high 25 points, hit 1-of-2 free throws
with 19 seconds to play in the first overtime to give the Cards a 90-88