LU plans to avoid winless road trip

Published 6:03 pm Friday, January 20, 2017

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT — The Lamar men’s basketball team heads to Nicholls State on Saturday looking to salvage the final game of its current three-game road swing.

The game against the Colonels is the final stop. Having dropped consecutive decisions, the trip appeared to be off to a great start leading by 15 points at Abilene Christian before the Wildcats rallied to win on a half-court shot. LU got out to a great start at Sam Houston State on Thursday leading by nine in the first half, and trailing by only a point at halftime, but the Bearkats went on a 13-0 run to start the second half and never looked back.

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The Cardinals are now in the position of trying to reclaim some of their moxie, which led to six wins during a seven-game stretch prior to their two recent setbacks. The two losses have dropped LU from second to a four-way tie for fifth in the Southland standings, just a game up on three teams in the loss column.

The Colonels are one of the four teams tied with Big Red for fifth place in the league race. Nicholls enters the weekend contest just a game over .500 (10-9) overall, and looking to turn around a bad stretch as well. Although Nicholls is coming off a three-point victory over Abilene Christian Thursday evening, it was Nicholls’ first win in its last four games. The Colonels had won four straight prior to its current run.

Picked to finish last in both preseason polls, the Colonels – much like LU – have been one of the surprises of the basketball season. The Colonels sent shockwaves through the league when they opened the season with a six-point victory at Boston College, and jumped out to a 2-0 start in league play before falling on hard times.

The Colonels will be playing Saturday’s game without the services of leading scorer Deandre Harris. Averaging better than 18 points per contest, and nearly 20 in Southland games, Harris was dismissed from the team.

The Colonels are surrendering better than 78 points per contest this season, which should play into LU’s hands Saturday. Big Red leads the Southland in scoring offense (79.1 ppg) and scoring margin (plus-8.0), and Nicholls has struggled at times defensively surrendering a league worst .473 field goal percentage to its opponents.

One the of the better free throw shooting teams in the Southland, the Colonels will look to gain an advantage in the low post where they lead the league in blocked shots (6.4 bpg). A size disadvantage is nothing new for the Cardinals this season. It is something the coaching staff has schemed for almost on a nightly basis.