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Nzeakor leads LU blowout

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT — Sophomore Josh Nzeakor scored a career-high 20 points to guide Lamar to an impressive 90-47 victory over Howard Payne on Friday evening at the Montagne Center. The Cardinals got balanced scoring and used suffocating defensive pressure to record the season-opening victory.

Every player except for one got into the scoring act Friday for the Cards, led by three in double figures. Junior Colton Weisbrod scored 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds, and sophomore Nick Garth came off the bench to add 14 for a team that shot better than 50 percent from the field (31-of-61, .508).

While the Cardinals were busy lighting up the scoreboard at one end of the floor, the defense was busy keeping HPU off balance at the other end. The Yellow Jackets turned the ball over 26 times, and were held to a 14-of-50 performance (.280) from the field. Beaumont natives Khyce Randall and Rickey Guillory led HPU with 12 and 10, respectively.

The Cards took full advantage of the every HPU turnover scoring 37 points off the visitor’s mistakes. Big Red also used its size in the low post to record a 42-22 advantage in the paint.

It didn’t take long for the Cardinals to jump out to a big lead. In a game in which the Red and White never trailed, the Cardinals rattled off a 22-6 run midway through the first half to push a five-point advantage out to 21 points, 34-13, and never looked back.

The Cardinals took a 53-22 lead into the locker room after converting 20 of 37 (.541) attempts from the field. LU outrebounded the Yellow Jackets, 25-19. The Cardinals also buried 4 of 11 (.364) three-pointers in the first half.

It was more of the same in the second half as the Cardinals pushed their advantage to as many as 51 points before HPU closed the gap in the final minutes. The Yellow Jackets were able to cut into the deficit due in large part to LU scoring only nine points in the game’s final 8:43.