Mattingly, Sears, bench carry Cardinals

Published 7:02 pm Friday, December 18, 2015

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT — Junior Preston Mattingly came off the bench to score a career-high 11 points and pull down a career-high 16 rebounds in Lamar’s 80-56 victory over Jarvis Christian on Friday afternoon at the Montagne Center.

Mattingly led an effort from the Cardinal reserves that scored 52 of the team’s 80 points.

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In addition to Mattingly’s first career double-double, senior Dontavious Sears added 24 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Nick Garth continued his hot start to the season with 13 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Garth has now hit double digits in the first 10 games of his collegiate career.

It has become a common trend for the LU reserves to provide a spark, which proved to be vital Friday. The Cardinals’ bench flipped momentum early in the first half against Jarvis Christian and outscored the Bulldogs reserves, 52-24.

After shooting just 35 percent in the opening half, LU picked up the pace in the final 20 minutes knocking down shots at a near 53-percent clip (18-of-34) to finish the game, 29-of-65 (.446). Big Red also outrebounded JCC, 50-34, which including 18 offensive boards. Jarvis Christian was held to less than 37 percent from the field, including an 8-of-31 (.258) pace from beyond the arc.

“This game was a tale of two halves,” said head coach Tic Price. “Jarvis Christian started out the game knocking down more shots and they were playing with a great deal of confidence. You look down at their sideline and their bench was into the game, celebrating. We didn’t defend early, and offensively we made poor decisions. Thank goodness we got our act together in the second half.”

It didn’t take long for the LU bench to get its opportunity against the Bulldogs. Trailing by six points less than four minutes into the game Price replaced the whole lineup. The reserves responded by rattling off nine consecutive points and giving LU its first lead of the game. After the lead changed hands on the next three possessions, junior Lincoln Davis hit a three that gave the Cardinals the advantage for good, but they had to fight to maintain it.

LU took a three-point advantage into the locker room, and started the second half with a different lineup from his original starting squad. Garth got the second half off to a quick start with a layup to give Big Red a five-point lead. After JCC answered with a three from James Parker, Mattingly took control of the game. Following a three-pointer from Garth, Mattingly picked off a pass and sprinted to the other end of the floor for an easy layup.

After the Cardinals forced a turnover, Mattingly kept an LU possession alive with two offensive rebounds before finishing things off with a tip in. Mattingly then gave the Cards their first double-digit lead of the game when hit a layup after Garth recorded the steal. On the very next possession Mattingly cleared a rebound off a JCC miss and found senior LeMon Gregory at the other end of the floor for an easy layup.

“We started a different lineup in the second half,” said Price. “Preston Mattingly got us 16 rebounds, and that was huge for us. This might have been the best game of his career. The guy just works hard, and that’s one of the reasons why he plays. He is probably our hardest worker, and he’s the ultimate teammate. Dontavious [Sears] also had a huge day for us.”

The Cardinals built their lead to as many as 12 before Jarvis Christian made one final push. The Bulldogs cut the lead to six points with just over 14 minutes remaining, but that would be as close as the visitors would get. LU rattled off 12 straight points to take an 18-point lead and never looked back.

Junior Marcus Owens was the only starter in double figures, finishing the day with 10 points. He also pulled down five rebounds and dished out six assists. Mattingly also filled up that stat sheet recording two steals, blocking two shots and dishing out one assist to go along with his points and rebounds.

The Cardinals return to action Monday when they host Texas Lutheran. The game against the Bulldogs will tip off at 7 p.m. at the Montagne Center.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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