Cards’ comeback too little

Published 10:59 pm Monday, January 4, 2016

BEAUMONT — In Tic Price’s mind, there’s never a doubt Lamar will come back and win a game that’s within reach.

Even after five missed shots — four of them three-point attempts in the final 32 seconds — there’s a chance.

But Nick Garth stepped out of bounds after New Orleans missed a bonus shot in the final seconds, and Cameron Reed sealed the game with a pair of free throws to give the Privateers a 68-64 win in front of 1,731 in the Montagne Center on Monday.

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Price, though, didn’t put the blame on the late missed chances.

“Tell-all stats — 28 turnovers,” he said. “That’s really the bottom line. We lost the game because we didn’t value the basketball. When you don’t value the basketball, that’s what happens.”

The 28 turnovers equaled the number of three-point attempts the Cardinals (9-5, 1-1 Southland) took Monday night, connecting on just 10 of them. But an 11th make as time wound down seemed so imminent.

“It’s tough those [late] shots didn’t fall, but we had the right people shooting them, so we can’t be mad,” said freshman Garth, who finished with 15 points off the bench.

New Orleans (5-7, 1-0), which led by as many as 12 points with 15:20 left, found itself tied with Lamar at 64 when Kevin Booze made 1 of 2 free throws with 2:27 left. The tie was broken with 54 seconds left when Kevin Hill sank a heavily contested hook shot for the Privateers.

Booze missed a trey with 32 seconds left, and Hill, who finished with a game-high 18 points, was fouled on the rebound. But he missed the bonus shot, opening the door for the Cardinals.

Dontavious Sears and Garth could not knock down the three-ball with clean looks. Dorian Chatman, who rebounded both misses, had a layup blocked by Hill, then Booze rebounded for another shot from outside that hit iron.

Nate Frye finally crashed the board for the Privateers with 4 seconds to go, but he missed his bonus attempt. Josh Nzeakor rebounded and kicked it out to Garth, but the freshman guard stepped out of bounds with 1.5 seconds to go as he was driving down the bench sideline. Reed then called it a night by sinking two free throws.

The loss ended a four-game winning streak and run of seven wins in the past eight for Lamar. If anything else is to be blamed for the defeat, the Cardinals were out of rhythm early on and suffered miscues on loose balls and rebound attempts.

“It hurts,” Booze said. “It’s a game we should’ve won. But we didn’t come out like we were supposed to.”

New Orleans scored six unanswered in the final 25 seconds of the first half to cushion its lead to 36-28 by halftime. Lamar’s bench was called for a technical foul during the run.

Lamar shot only 36.5 percent from the floor (23 for 63), barely topping New Orleans’ 33.8 percent (23 for 68). But the Cardinals controlled the glass much of the game with a 52-41 rebounding edge.

Sears scored 13 and Booze had 12 for Lamar. Sears and Nzeakor had 11 and 10 boards, respectively. Chatman, the Port Arthur freshman, went scoreless in 12 minutes, largely hindered by foul trouble, but registered three blocks and five rebounds.

Lamar visits Central Arkansas for 4 p.m. game Saturday and will return to Beaumont to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christ in a game rescheduled for 8 p.m. Monday.

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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