, Port Arthur, Texas

November 26, 2013

Lamar looks for first home win against Broncs

The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — Now that it’s finally won a game, Lamar University’s basketball team will be looking for its initial home victory of the 2013-14 season tonight. Pat Knight’s Cardinals, who host Texas Pan-American at 7 p.m., haven’t prevailed in the Montagne Center in 11 months, dating back to an 81-80 victory over LIU Brooklyn last Dec. 29.

    The Cardinals come in 1-5, with their lone victory a 75-66 decision over Savannah State last Thursday in the Global Sports Classic in Salt Lake City. LU dropped its other two games in the tourney — 84-57 to Utah and 78-69 to a Grand Canyon team playing at the Division 1 level for the first time this season.

    UT-PA stands 3-4 and is fresh off a 70-55 victory over former Lamar Southland Conference rival UT-San Antonio. Two of the Broncos defeats have been at the hands of current SLC teams — 77-73 at Sam Houston and 72-61 at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

    Tonight’s game launches a three-game homestand for the Cardinals. They entertain Arkansas State Saturday at 6 p.m., take time off for finals, then welcome Tennessee Tech at 2 p.m. Dec. 15. LU then closes out the 2013 portion of the schedule with a three-game road trip that has two stops in New York — LIU- Brooklyn and Canisius — and a visit to Colorado State.

    The Cardinals currently have three starters averaging in double figures, with 6-0 junior guard Nimrod Hilliard leading the way at 14.8 points per game. Six-five forwards Donovan Ross and Amos Wilson average 13.7 and 10.8 ppg, respectively. Ross is the team’s leading rebounder with 5.8 boards per game.

    As was the case during last season’s  3-28 disaster, Lamar has struggled to make shots. The Cardinals are sinking 41.9 percent of their shots and are at 29.5 behind the 3-point arc. Ross has been the exception, sinking 33-of-52 from the floor for 63.5 percent. He’s not attempted a 3-pointer.

    Lamar opponents, meanwhile, are shooting 49 percent from the field and 35.5 on treys. LU foes have a 44-18 edge in 3-pointers made. The Cardinals are also being outrebounded 38.7-to 31.0. — Bob West