The Port Arthur News
USA Today’s latest Sagarin Men’s College Basketball Ratings of 347 Division 1 teams had Lamar at No. 332 as of Thursday morning. Based on their first four Southland Conference games, Pat Knight’s Cardinals are overrated.
Sam Houston State became the latest SLC team to feast on LU, scoring a 68-57 victory at the Montange Center before a turnout liberally listed at 2,246. The Bearkats, improving to 2-1 in league play and 9-6 overall, were so in command from start to finish they never once trailed and were tied only at 2-2, 4-4 and 10-10.
Their second home loss of the week dropped the Cardinals to 0-4 in the SLC and 2-14 in a season that looks destined to become one of the worst in school history. LU will try to claw into the win column Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Montange Center against a Texas &M-Corpus Christi which is also winless in league play at 0-3.
Although Lamar actually had a better shooting percentage Thursday night — 42 percent to 37.5 — it mattered little since the Bearkats got off 14 more shots. That’s because they dominated the boards 43-32, with 19 offensive rebounds leading to a 21-6 edge in second-chance points. They also converted 20 Cardinals turnovers into a whopping 28-12 edge in points off turnovers.
“We just stood,” said Knight about his team’s rebounding
effort. “Guys had it go right over their heads. Anytime you give up 21 points
off rebounds and 28 off turnovers, there’s nothing you can do. That’s the
ball game. I mean our defense was really good.
“They just outhustled us. Every time we started making a run, we committed a
mistake whether it was a turnover, bad shot, not getting a rebound, just
something that was a mistake. You can’t do that at the Division I level and
get away with it.”
Lamar, which has the dubious distinction of being the worst three-point shooting team in the SLC, went through another game without a trey. The Cardinals were 0-for-3 beyond the arc and have now made only one three-pointer in conference play. Sam Houston sank only 3-of-14, but that’s a nine-point difference.
Three Cardinals, headed by Amos Wilson’s 12 points, scored in double figures. Wilson also had eight rebounds. Keilan Blanks added 11 points and Donley Minor contributed 10.
Sam Houston, which was led by 14 points and eight rebounds from Terrance Motley, started taking control early, breaking out of a 10-10 deadlock with a 12-0 run. Lamar, after falling behind 26-14, reeled off 11 straight points to get within 26-25. That was the only time the Cardinals would be that close.
The Bearkats led 33-29 at the half and stretched the lead out to 50-36 before LU battled back to 52-47. Sam Houston promptly went on a 11-2 run to put the game away.