Bench carries load for Cardinals

Published 7:07 pm Saturday, January 2, 2016

THIBODAUX, La. — It’s no secret anyone can start for Lamar any given game in men’s basketball. For that matter, any player can be dominant off the bench.

Try having three reserves lead the Cardinals in scoring.

That’s what happened Saturday.

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Nick Garth, Kevin Booze and Dontavious Sears combined for 39 points off the bench, and Lamar successfully opened Southland Conference play with a 79-67win at Nicholls State before 792 in Stopher Gym on Saturday.

“It is always important to get that first conference win out of the way,” said head coach Tic Price. “I thought we were very strong on the defensive end, holding them to less than 32 percent. I thought our bench was remarkable. Nick Garth played well, Dontavious Sears gave us some quality minutes and Kevin Booze hit some key shots for us. I thought we also did a good job with game management down the stretch as well.”

Garth continued his steady shooting from outside, canning 3 of 7 three-point attempts and leading the way with 17 points. He was listed as probable to make his third consecutive start, but that wouldn’t be necessary.

The freshman from Houston, who also grabbed seven rebounds, has gone for double-digit points in all but his previous two games.

Booze had 12 points but found plenty of opportunities for others with a game-high six assists. Sears had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Marcus Owens led Lamar’s starters with nine points. Dorian Chatman and Quan Jones each knocked down seven points.

Neither team led by more than three points until midway through the first half, when Lamar (9-4, 1-0) led 14-10. A three-point shot by Garth and a Chatman layup gave the Cardinals a little separation, 27-18, by the 3:26 mark, and Lamar went into the locker room ahead 30-24.

Preston Mattingly knocked down a jumper at the 15:47 mark of the second half to give the Cards their first double-digit lead at 40-30. Lamar led by as many as 18 points as time wound down.

Ja’Dante’ Frye scored 17, Schane Rillieux 12 and T.J. Carpenter 10 for Nicholls State (4-10, 0-1).

The Cardinals return home to face New Orleans at 7:30 p.m. Monday, following the women’s game between the two schools.

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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