Cardinals drop third in a row

Published 12:19 am Tuesday, January 12, 2016

BEAUMONT — Lamar is making a habit of slow starts, and it’s not helping a young team establish a run at the Southland Conference championship.

Then again, the Cardinals are just that … young.

Nick Garth shot 8 for 14 from the field — 4 for 7 from three-point range — and finished with a career-high 25 points, but Bryce Douvier was one point better in helping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi remain unbeaten in the Southland with a 91-82 victory before 1,539 in the Montagne Center.

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“It came down to executing offense and making stops,” Lamar coach Tic Price said. “In January, your team has to start preparing for March. You have to be ahead in terms of your maturity and approach. We know we can be one of the more dangerous teams.”

The Cardinals (9-7, 1-3) again ran out of gas trying to make big comeback. What’s more alarming for them, they’ve dropped three straight games, all in conference play.

But what’s promising for their future is that freshmen are igniting the rallies.

Garth had 14 first-half points as Lamar stormed from a 20-5 deficit to tie the score at 39 by halftime.

Senior LeMon Gregory banked in a shot to give the Cardinals their first lead at 41-39. They led by as much as 70-65 with 7:11 left before the Islanders (12-3, 3-0) started a 16-4 run that turned the game around.

Starting forward Douvier, who had 26 points and 13 rebounds, capped the rally with a backdoor layup with 3:11 to go. Lamar could only pull within 87-82 before Douvier threw down a dunk that served as the dagger.

“Douvier was a pain on our side tonight,” Price said. “We did a good job on [Rashawn] Thomas for the most part, as well as [Brandon] Pye. Those are the two guys we did a good job keying on.”

Pye and Thomas came into the game with team-leading averages of 21 and 20 points per game, respectively, but the pair combined for 15 points. If anybody helped Douvier deliver a knockout punch for Corpus Christi, it was Hameed Ali, their senior point guard who finished with 13 points.

Dontavious Sears finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Port Arthur freshman Dorian Chatman had eight points for Lamar.

This was also the second straight defeat at home for the Cardinals, who could not complete a comeback last Monday at the Montagne Center against New Orleans and were coming off a lackluster effort Saturday at previously 1-11 Central Arkansas.

“The loss on Saturday was a stinging blow,” Price said. “I told the guys, the game is overwith. We can’t look back in the rear-view mirror.”

They did play for the second straight game without Kevin Booze, who’s dealt with an elbow infection after sustaining a cut in the New Orleans game.

Lamar has another home game Saturday against Northwestern State with the tipoff set for 4:30 p.m., before visiting Southeastern Louisiana the following 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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