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Garth’s second-half shooting carries Cards

Lamar sports information

THIBODAUX, La. – Sophomore Nick Garth scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half to lead Lamar (12-8, 4-3 Southland) to an 87-76 victory over Nicholls State on Saturday evening at Stopher Gym.

The victory ends a minor two-game slide as Big Red returns home to open a season-long four-game homestand.

Garth was one of four Cardinals to finish the night in double figures. Sophomore Dorian Chatman of Port Arthur came off the bench to add 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Junior Zjori Bosha also added 15 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Josh Nzeakor recorded his second consecutive double-double (12 points and 11 rebounds).

Colton Weisbrod of Nederland added six points and eight rebounds.

The majority of the Nzeakor’s damage came from offensive rebounds. The Cardinals beat Nicholls on the boards, 41-33, by the end of the contest after trailing at halftime. LU shot nearly 52 percent from the field, including an 8-of-22 (.364) mark from three-point range. The Cardinals hit 7-of-12 three-pointers in the final 20 minutes.

It was the exact opposite for Nicholls, who finished the game 25-of-60 (.417) from the field. The Colonels torched the nets for a 7-of-14 (.500) performance from beyond the arc in the first half, but closed the game just 2 for its last 12. Nicholls was led by Ja’Dante Frye’s 16 points.

Neither team registered a point until the 16:47 mark of the first half. The scoreless drought was broken by a three-pointer from Nicholls’ Stevie Repichowski. The basket sparked an 11-2 run to start the game for the Colonels, but LU didn’t allow their hosts to run and hide.

The Cardinals responded with a 10-2 run of its own to cut the deficit down to just a single-point, 13-12. LU had a chance to tie the game as sophomore Nick Garth knocked down a three and got fouled but couldn’t convert the rare four-point play.

The Cardinals managed to tie the game at 16 a minute later when Chatman found junior Christian Albright underneath the rim for a layup in traffic. The LU basket seemed to ignite the Colonels defense. Nicholls took advantage of three consecutive LU turnovers to build a seven-point advantage. Nicholls pushed its lead to eight points before junior Torey Noel hit a 15-footer at the buzzer to send Big Red into the locker room down six, 40-34.

LU got a huge lift from its bench in the opening half as the Cardinals’ reserves outscored Nicholls, 19-3, led by Chatman’s nine points on 3-of-4 shooting. The Port Arthur sophomore was also 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the opening 20 minutes.

Despite a slow start, the Cardinals finished the half knocking down 12 of 27 (.444) attempts from the field, but only one of those came from beyond the arc (1 of 10). LU outshot Nicholls in the opening 20 minutes as the Colonels finished the half shooting 13 of 31 (.419) from the field which included a 7-of-14 (.500) performance from beyond the arc.

The Cardinals didn’t see their first lead of the game until the 12:37 mark when Chatman capped an 11-4 run with a basket in traffic. The layup gave the Cards a one-point lead, 53-52, with 12:32 remaining in the half.

The Cardinals rode the hot hand of Garth in the second half. Garth had just three points at halftime but knocked down 5 of 7 second-half three-pointers to build a five-point lead, 67-62, with 7:13 remaining. The Cardinals went to work on the offensive glass and defensively to push their lead into double digits.

LU finished the game with 15 offensive rebounds which led to 25 points. The Red and White also forced Nicholls into 13 turnovers which it converted into 19 points.

The Cardinals are back in action Wednesday when they return home to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The game against the Islanders will tip off at 8 p.m. at the Montagne Center, and can also be seen live on the American Sports Network. It can also be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI.