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LU men take turn at UCA on Mon.

There’s nothing like going into conference play on a winning streak.

Lamar’s men’s basketball team is doing just that with a three-game string, all at home.

The Cardinals now must conquer the road to contend for a Southland Conference championship, but Monday’s league opener at Central Arkansas will be their only road game for another 12 days. Lamar will hold another three-game homestand beginning Thursday against New Orleans.

Lamar (8-5) has struggled away from Beaumont even against teams that have gotten off to bad starts to the season. Idaho State was 0-6 before beating Lamar on Nov. 29, and UT Rio Grande Valley was 4-8 when it defeated Lamar on Dec. 16.

Central Arkansas is 2-12 after a 67-65 win over Sam Houston State on Saturday, but has come close to scoring some key victories.

The Bears gave Oklahoma State a serious challenge on Nov. 14, as Brad Underwood’s Cowboys escaped with a 102-90 win. Underwood coached three-time defending Southland champion Stephen F. Austin until last spring.

Two weeks later, reigning Sun Belt champion and round of 32 qualifier Little Rock needed overtime to beat UCA 89-87. UCA, led by former Arizona interim coach Russ Pennell, has not fared well since against bigger-name talent.

The Cards will remember the last time they visited Conway, Ark., however. UCA was 1-11 before picking up its first Southland win against Lamar 93-76 last Jan. 9.

Senior guard Lincoln Davis hopes to continue an upward swing after seeing limited action this season. He has averaged 11 points per game in Lamar’s past two games, but he’s averaging only 3.6 this season after turning in some big performances as a junior.

Junior Joey Frenchwood has double-doubled in three straight games and has dished 10 or more assists in each of those games, all at home. That has not been achieved in at least 24 years.

Monday’s game will tip off at 8 p.m. at the Farris Center in Conway. KLVI-AM 560 will carry the game.

— I.C. Murrell

**NOTE: A print version reflects Central Arkansas’ record as 1-12. It was sent to press before Saturday’s game against SHSU due to an early press deadline.**

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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