MEN’S BASKETBALL: Lamar pulls off long awaited win at SFA

Published 9:40 pm Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lamar sports information

NACOGDOCHES – Junior Nick Garth came off the bench to score a game-high 23 points to lead Lamar to a 71-66 victory Saturday evening at the William R. Johnson Coliseum.

The victory was just the program’s ninth in Nacogdoches all-time, and the program’s first on the road since the 2005-06 season. The victory handed the Cardinals their first series sweep over SFA since 2001-02.

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The Cardinals were 24 of 58 (.414) from the field, including a 10-of-25 (.400) effort from three-point range. LU was edged on the boards by one, 39-38, but pulled down 10 offensive rebounds. Big Red held SFA to a 22-of-56 (.393) performance, which included a 6-of-24 (.250) effort on threes.

In addition to Garth’s 23 points, senior Joey Frenchwood added 13, while classmate Zjori Bosha scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds. T.J. Holyfield led the Lumberjacks’ with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

“Very few teams have been able to come in here in win over the past five or six years, so I’m very proud of our effort tonight,” said Price. “These guys came in here today very determined to get a win. They made up their mind that they were going to win and did what they needed to get the victory. I’m just so happy for each of these young men.”

The Cardinals turned to their defense to build an early advantage in the contest. The Cardinals held SFA to just seven field goals in the opening half (7-of-24, .292) and forced their hosts into eight turnovers. LU cashed the miscues in for six points, while SFA was unable to score any points from the Cards’ seven first-half turnovers.

The Cardinals got on the scoreboard at the 18:43 mark following a Bosha layup. The Nome native was fouled on the play but was unable to convert the and-one opportunity. Bosha’s basket sparked a 4-of-9 start from the field for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals buried six three-pointers in the opening half – including four from Garth – but it was Garth’s second three that gave LU a small cushion. The three-pointer sparked an 8-0 run as the Cardinals built an eight-point advantage, 24-16, with 9:20 remaining until halftime. The Cards led by as many as 11 in the opening half before taking a seven-point advantage into the locker, 33-26.

SFA seized control of the game early in the second as Ivan Canete hit a three-pointer to pull the ‘Jacks to within a point, 36-35, with 15:47 to play. The basket capped a 9-3 run for the Lumberjacks, but the Cardinals had an answer in the form of Garth. The Houston native responded with a three-pointer – one of six on the night – to reclaim a four-point lead. The basket proved pivotal as SFA would never be allowed to get that close for the rest of the night.

“We knew they were going to come at us pretty hard in the second half,” said Price. “They did a good job on their penetration but our guys found a way to will themselves to victory. I’m very proud of the mental toughness we showed. SFA was 15-0 in this building coming into tonight.”

The Garth three ball sparked an 11-2 run as the Red and White was able to push its lead back to double digits. SFA managed to trim the deficit back to two possessions midway through the half but again the Cardinals had an answer getting a layup and three-pointer from senior Colton Weisbrod in consecutive possessions.

The back-and-forth battle on the court would continue for the remainder of the game. SFA would surge to within two possessions, but the Cardinals always had an answer to hold their opponents at bay.

The Cardinals managed to grab a seven-point lead with 1:41 on the clock, needing only to hit their free throws to ice the victory. Following a Holyfield basket to trim the lead down to five, Frenchwood walked to the line at the other end of the floor and hit both free throws. SFA answered with a Holyfield three-pointer to cut the lead to four points with 29 seconds remaining, but Frenchwood was fouled again and hit 1-of-2. Frenchwood would get two more free throws after an SFA basket in the paint for the final score.

The Cardinals return to action Saturday, March 3, when they travel to Lake Charles to take on rival McNeese State. The game against the Cowboys will tip off at 3 p.m. from Burton Coliseum. It can be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI.