Hot-shooting Cards drop decision at HBU

Published 11:50 pm Saturday, February 11, 2017

Lamar sports information

HOUSTON – Sophomore Nick Garth scored a game-high 24 points and led an offense that shot better than 56 percent but had no answer for a slow start falling at Houston Baptist, 94-87, Saturday night at Sharp Gym. The loss ends a three-game win streak for the Cardinals who have never won at Houston Baptist.

LU (15-10, 7-5 SLC) knocked down 32 of 57 (.561) shots, including 13 of 28 (.464) three-pointers but never found an answer for HBU’s (11-12, 7-6 SLC) Josh Ibarra on the glass. Ibarra was one of two Huskies to pull down double-digit rebounds as LU was outrebounded by 14. The Huskies also grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.

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HBU knocked down 12 of its first 22 attempts from the field and finished the night 27-of-55 (.491), including five three-pointers. HBU also had a sizeable advantage at the free throw line converting 35 of 44 (.795), while the Cardinals went to the stripe only 13 times.

Garth was joined in double figures by 14 points from sophomore Josh Nzeakor – all in the second half – and 11 each from juniors Zjori Bosha and Torey Noel. Classmate Colton Weisbrod added 10 points.

Ibarra was one of two Huskies to record a double-double. He finished the night with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Reveal Chukwujekwu added 15 and 10.

“We got what we deserved tonight,” said head coach Tic Price. “For a team that prides itself on making stops we just couldn’t make any, especially in the first half. We did a little bit better job defensively in the second but it wasn’t good enough. I always say you play like you practice and yesterday we had one of our worst practices of the season.”

After falling behind by seven points early, the Cardinals turned to the long ball to get back in the game. Garth checked into the lineup and knocked down consecutive threes to cap an 8-0 run to hand LU its first lead of the game, 12-11, with 14:24 remaining in the opening half.

The Huskies responded to 8-0 by outscoring LU, 33-16 for the rest of the half. The Cardinals had no answer for HBU on the glass. Led by Ibarra’s eight first-half rebounds, the Huskies went into the locker room with a 20-11 advantage on the glass. HBU also finished the half shooting better than 55 percent from the field (16 of 29), while holding the Cardinals to an 11-of-29 (.393) performance.

Garth served as a bright spot in the opening 20 minutes scoring 13 points on 3-of-6 (.500) shooting from beyond the arc. He was the lone Cardinal to score more than four in the first 20 minutes.

In addition to HBU’s advantage on the glass and hot start shooting the ball, LU put its host on the free throw line 14 times (8-of-14) in the opening half, while LU attempted just three.

Houston Baptist pushed its lead up over 20 points before the Red and White started to chip away at the deficit. Garth picked up where he left off in the first half knocking down four three-pointers in the early stages of the second to spark 12-5 run to pull the Cardinals within 13, 62-49, with 11:29 remaining.

HBU pushed the advantage back to 19 points before Big Red went on another run this time led by consecutive threes from Bosha. LU trimmed the deficit down to 11 points, 76-65, with 5:14 remaining in the contest. The Cardinals continued to chip away at the HBU lead cutting it down to seven with less than 11 seconds to play, but the Huskies hit their free throws down the stretch to hold on for the lead.

The Cardinals return to action Thursday when they travel to Nacogdoches to take on Stephen F. Austin. The game against the Lumberjacks is slated to begin at 8 p.m. from the William R. Johnson Coliseum.