Chatman’s 24 points too little for Lamar

Published 8:20 pm Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lamar sports information

ABILENE — Freshman Dorian Chatman of Port Arthur poured in a career-high 24 points, but that wasn’t enough to overcome another slow start by the Lamar Cardinals (10-11, 2-7 Southland) as they fell 80-71 to Abilene Christian on Saturday afternoon at Moody Coliseum.

It was a repeat of the same ol’ story that the LU men have become all too familiar with this season – slow starts aided by turnovers. Adding to the familiarity of the story is the Cardinals’ ability to settle down after the initial struggles on the offensive end but not being able to quite get over the hump.

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“There were two things that killed us in the first half and those were turnovers and points off turnovers,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “They outscored us 21-2 in points off turnovers in the second half. We have to value the basketball and right now we are not doing that. In the second half, we did a better job of taking care of the ball but we couldn’t stop them defensively.”

Despite shooting 50 percent from the field, the Cardinals were hurt by turnovers. The Red and White coughed up the ball 17 times, including 12 in the first half. ACU cashed in the Cardinals’ mistakes for 25 points. The Wildcats finished the day 28 of 54 (.519) from the field, including a 41 percent clip from three-point range.

Chatman was joined in double figures by freshman Nick Garth, who came off the bench to score 19 points, while junior Marcus Owens scored 16 points and pulled down five rebounds. Freshman Josh Nzeakor led all players with nine rebounds.

The Wildcats were led by 27 points from Jaylen Franklin, while Jaren Lewis came off the bench to score to 12 points.

After Lamar knocked down the first field goal of the game – a three-pointer from Owens – ACU answered with consecutive field goals to take a 6-3 advantage. Junior Preston Mattingly tied the game after converting an and-one. The Wildcats responded to the three-point play by rattling off an 8-0 run to take a 14-6 lead. ACU pushed that advantage to 14 points, 21-7, 10 minutes into the game.

Right at the moment when ACU appeared primed to run away with the contest, the Red and White settled down and got back into the game. The Cardinals knocked down their next four attempts, while ACU cooled off converting just two of their next nine.

Trailing by only six, the Cards got the ball back and looked to cut into the deficit even further but missed two attempts in the paint. The Wildcats responded by closing the half with four unanswered points to take a 10-point lead into the locker room, 39-29. The Cardinals closed out the half knocking down only 2-of-9, including misses on their final six attempts.

The Cardinals turned the ball over 12 times in the opening 20 minutes and ACU took full advantage of every mistake. The Wildcats scored 21 points from the LU turnovers, while the Cards could only force ACU into five miscues.

Just like the first half, the Cardinals got the first field goal but watched ACU respond by going on a run to push its advantage to 19 points before beginning to chip away at the lead. The Cardinals shot nearly 57 percent in the second half and cut the lead down to single digits late in the game but could get no closer than seven points. The Cardinals hurt themselves at the free throw line converting just 62 percent from the stripe.

Despite LU’s hot shooting in the second half, and taking better care of the ball (five turnovers in the final 20 minutes), the Cardinals couldn’t seem to slow down the Wildcats. Abilene Christian nearly equaled the Cards’ pace in the final 20 minutes connecting on 14 of 25 (.560) attempts, including a 5 of 9 (.556) performance from beyond the arc.

The Cardinals return to action Monday when they step on the court of the friendly confines of the Montagne Center to host Sam Houston State. The game against the Bearkats will tip off at 7 p.m. It can be heard live on KLVI-AM 560 and seen on

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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