Another that got away: Last-ditch rally ends in turnover before buzzer

Published 11:55 pm Monday, February 15, 2016

Lamar sports information

HOUSTON — If the scenario wasn’t painful enough for one of the youngest teams in the country, Monday night’s setback at Houston Baptist only added to the heartbreak that has become the constant for the Lamar Cardinals in the 2015-16 season.

The Cardinals rallied from an early double-digit deficit only to fall to Houston Baptist, 79-78, Monday evening in Sharp Gym. It was the eighth consecutive loss for the Cardinals (10-15, 2-11 Southland), while HBU ended a four-game slide of its own.

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The Huskies shot 54 percent from the field, due in large part to their hot start, including an 8-of-20 (.400) performance from beyond the arc. LU was 32 of 70 (.457) from the field, including seven three-pointers. The Cardinals also outrebounded HBU by four after trailing on the glass at halftime, 18-11.

The Cardinals also dominated HBU in every hustle category recording significant advantages in second-chance points (20-8), points in the paint, points off turnovers (21-8) and bench scoring (48-20). The main area that hurt LU was its struggles from the free throw line. LU shot less than 50 percent from the stripe (7 of 16), while Houston Baptist 17 of 23 (.739).

“Free throws hurt us tonight,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “We have to make those when have the opportunity. We let HBU get to the line too often tonight and they made more than we attempted. I thought in the first half we gave up too many second looks. We did a better job of that in the second half but we still need to get better. I’m proud of our guys for never giving up and continuing to fight. This is not an easy place to play, and our guys continued to battle.”

The Huskies jumped out to a quick start offensively converting seven of their first 11 attempts from the field, including a 4-of-4 start from beyond the arc, to take an early 12-point advantage, 18-6. After the initial run LU settled down and responded with a run of their own. Big Red rattled off a 14-3 run to pull within three following a Zjori Bosha triple with 8:37 remaining in the opening half.

The rest of the half followed the pace of one team scoring and the other team answering on the other end of the floor. HBU took an eight-point advantage into the locker room by taking advantage of a couple offensive rebounds and getting the put back.

The Cards finished the half shooting 14 of 31 (.452) from the field, but struggled from beyond the arc (2 of 7, .286). HBU was 14 of 26 (.536) from the field, and shot 50 percent from three-point range, but after getting out to a hot start the Huskies hit just two of their last eight attempts in the half. HBU also took advantage of their opportunities at the stripe converting on all six free throw attempts. The Huskies also outrebounded LU, 18-11, in the opening half.

The Cardinals opened the second half on a 10-3 run and cut the deficit down to one, 43-42, with 16:30 remaining in the half. HBU responded with a 15-7 run to push their advantage back to nine points moments later. The Red and White never backed down cutting the lead back to a single point following a Marcus Owens, 63-62, with 4:45 remaining.

Senior Dontavious Sears got a layup, and after a Dorian Chatman steal led to a Marcus Owens’ three ball the Cards trimmed the lead to three with 21 seconds remaining. The Cardinals then put Colter Lasher on the free throw line and he missed both attempts.

After pulling down the rebound, LU again got the ball back in the hands of Sears, who hit a jumper to trim the deficit down to one point with 8.2 seconds. LU quickly fouled Odunsi — who was 5-for-5 from the line on the night — but he missed both attempts leaving the door open for LU.

The Cardinals quickly got the ball into the front court, but were unable to get off a shot as Booze lost the ball in traffic – a tough way to end the game. He finished the night with a double-double (17 points and 11 assists). Booze’s 11 assists came with just two turnovers on the night.

Booze was joined in double figures by Chatman, who scored 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Owens added 13 points, while Sears came off the bench to score 12. The Huskies were led by 18 points and eight rebounds from Odunsi.

The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they travel east across the border to face rival McNeese State. The game against the Cowboys is slated to off at 3 p.m. at Burton Coliseum.

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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