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Slow start does Cardinals in at Corpus Christi

Lamar sports information

CORPUS CHRISTI – After trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half, Lamar (15-12, 7-7 Southland) rallied to take a second half lead but Texas A&M-Corpus Christi edged out LU in front of a Homecoming crowd, 70-63, Saturday evening at the American Bank Center.

The Islanders (16-9, 9-5 SLC) jumped out to a hot start but finished night shooting 47 percent (20 of 42), including a 6-of-16 effort from beyond the arc. After getting out to a slow start in the opening half, LU bounced back in the second. The Cardinals hit their first eight attempts of the second half and finished the night 40 percent from the field after converting less than 30 percent in the opening half. The Cardinals also won the battle on the boards outrebounding A&M-Corpus Christi, 34-28.

The Cardinals were led by a double-double from junior Colton Weisbrod. The Nederland native scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Junior Torey Noel came off the bench to add 12 points.

The Islanders finished the game with three players in double digits, led by 29 points from Rashawn Thomas.

“We came out sluggish in the first half and got down by 10, but our kids kept fighting,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “If we played this whole game the way we played in the second half, I believe we’d be doing this interview with a win. Rashawn Thomas was a pain all game long, and he is the best player in our conference. I thought Colton did a very good job tonight. One hustle area that I was proud of tonight was our work on the boards.”

The Cardinals got out to a cold start missing their first six attempts from the field. In addition to struggling from the field, LU also turned the ball over 13 times in the opening 20 minutes.

While the Cardinals were struggling offensively, A&M-Corpus Christi got out to a very fast start. The Islanders knocked down seven of their first 10 attempts, and 5 of 6 (.833) from beyond the arc. A&M-Corpus Christi opened the game on a 10-0 run before the Cardinals turned to its defense to get back in the game.

Weisbrod ended the drought at the 15:10 mark with an and-one. After completing the three-point play, the Cardinals again forced another Islander turnover and Weisbrod converted on the other end. The Cardinals forced their hosts into another turnover, which led to two Weisbrod free throws cutting the deficit to three, 10-7.

LU was unable to keep the run going due in large part to the Islanders’ hot start. A&M-Corpus Christi continued its hot shooting converting 10 of its first 14 attempts (.714) building a 23-9 lead by the 9:04 mark of the first half.

The Cardinals turned to sophomore Nick Garth to end the Islanders’ second run. It was a 13-2 run that lasted nearly 5 minutes. Despite the tough start, the Cardinals began to chip away at the lead late in the half. After

seeing the deficit balloon to 16 points, Big Red closed the half on an 8-3 run to go into the locker room down just 11, 33-22.

The start of the second half was a completely different story for the Cardinals, as LU came out of locker room and buried their first eight attempts, which included four three-pointers. The start allowed LU to erase an 11-point deficit, trimming the lead to just four points, 48-44 with 11 minutes remaining. The Cardinals tied the game just minutes later after Noel stole the ball and had his layup blocked, but the officials called goaltending. The basket tied the game at 49 with just over 9 minutes remaining.

Weisbrod gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game, 51-50, with two free throws at the 8:15 mark. From that point on it was a close game that saw seven ties and seven lead changes after a first half where the Islanders led by as many as 16.

After Noel tied the game at free throw line, the Islanders got consecutive baskets from Thomas to take a four-point lead with 1:34 to play. Following the two Thomas’ baskets, LU couldn’t convert forcing the Cards to put their hosts on the free throw where A&M-Corpus Christi was able to hang on.

The Cardinals return to action Wednesday, Feb. 22, when they close out the current four-game road swing at Northwestern State. The game against the Demons is slated to begin at 8 p.m. at Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches, La. It can be heard live in Newstalk 560 KLVI.

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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