PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

November 20, 2012

Minor leads Lamar to first win of season


The Port Arthur News

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. —  Freshman Donnell Minton hit six free throws in the

final minute, and senior Donley Minor scored a career-high 22 points, leading

Lamar University to an 86-82 non-conference basketball win over IUPUI in the

consolation round of the NIT Season Tip-Off from Virginia’s John Paul Jones

Arena.



With the Cardinals holding on to a three point lead, Minton calmly stepped to

the line and knocked down a pair of free throws with 32 seconds to

play to push the LU lead back to 82-77. The Jaguars’ Mitchell Patton hit a

hook shot to pull IUPUI back to within three with 20 seconds on the clock.



Lamar inbounded to Minton and the freshman knocked two more down to make it

84-79 with 19 seconds. John Hart, who finished with 20 points for IUPUI, hit a

3-pointer to make it a two point game with 13 seconds to play.



LU redshirt freshman Rhon Mitchell was then fouled, but couldn’t hit the front

end of the one-and-one and IUPUI had a chance to tie the game. The Jaguars’

Greg Rice drove into the lane but couldn’t get his shot to fall. Minton

grabbed the board and was fouled, hitting his final two free throws with 1.2

showing on the clock to ice Lamar’s first win of the year.



The Cardinals, who will play at rival Arkansas State on Sunday afternoon at 2:05

p.m., improved to 1-4 on the season. Lamar finished 1-3 in its second ever trip

to the NIT Season Tip-Off. IUPUI fell to 2-4 with the loss.



“I thought it was big for us because we had three freshmen in at the end,”

said second-year LU head coach Pat Knight about picking up the win. “You

practice that stuff, but it doesn’t mean anything in practice. So for these

kids to step up like this and win is big.



“It wasn’t perfect, but we were able to win and that’s the best way for

them to learn. Sometimes it’s almost better to win a close game than a win by

a lot of points to get their confidence and the momentum going. I was really

proud, not just of the freshmen, but of the way the whole team played.”



While it was Minton who hit the big free throws late, it was Minor who helped

keep the Cardinals in the contest with a big shooting night. The guard knocked

down 10 of his 19 field goal attempts, adding four rebounds and two assists.



Lamar did not have a lead in the first half, trailing 39-37 at the break. The

Cards’ first lead came on a Minor jumper with 15:09 to play that made it

47-46. IUPUI responded with an 8-1 run to pull ahead by six with 12:36 to go in

the game.



Freshman Keilan Blanks stopped the run with a layup that triggered a 7-0 Lamar

run and gave the Cardinals a 55-54 lead with 11:11 to play. Mitchell added a

jumper and Minor hit his only 3-pointer of the game to close the run.



The Jaguars then got hot and went up by nine points with 5:24 to play on a dunk

by Donovan Gibbs that made it 72-63 in favor of IUPUI. Minor scored on a

breakaway layup with 2:32 to play that capped a 13-2 LU run and gave the Cards

the lead for good at 76-74.



Lamar shot 54.5 percent from the floor in the second half, including 4-of-7 aim

from 3-point range. The Cards hammered IUPUI on the boards with a 37-28 edge and

had a 14-4 advantage in second chance points as the Cardinals grabbed 16

offensive rebounds.



After averaging nearly 24 turnovers per game through the first three contests of

the year, Lamar committed just 14 against host Virginia on Monday and a

season-low 13 against the Jaguars on Tuesday. In fact, the Cards enjoyed a 20-13

advantage in points off turnovers in Tuesday’s contest.



Wilson got off to a huge start for the Cardinals, registering 10 points and

eight rebounds in the first half. The junior transfer would leave early in the

second half with an injury and did not add to those totals.



Mitchell led the Cardinals with nine rebounds, including five off the offensive

glass. Mitchell was one of three Cardinals to score 10 points in the game,

joining Wilson and Minton.



Senior forward Stan Brown added 12 points for Lamar, while Blanks came off the

LU bench to record 12 points and six assists.