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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Hot-shooting Cards rout Lumberjacks for third time in row

Lamar sports information
NACOGDOCHES — Senior Nick Garth scored 23 points and junior Jordan Hunter scored 20 to lead Lamar to an 82-67 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday afternoon.

It’s the third consecutive victory for the Cardinals over SFA which is the first time since 2001 and 2002 that LU has picked up three straight wins in the series.

After a hot start, the Cardinals finished the day 31-of-59 (.525) from the field, including a 10-of-23 (.435) performance from three-point range. The Cardinals were dominant winning the battle of the boards, 41-13. The Cardinals finished the game with six more offensive boards than what SFA pulled down for the game. Big Red’s work on the glass led to a 22-4 advantage in second chance points.

Junior Christian Barrett joined Garth and Hunter in double digits with 14 points. He also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Lumberjacks were held to just 16 field goals while shooting 42 percent from the field, including seven three-pointers. SFA was led by 25 points from Kevon Harris and 19 from Shannon Bogues.

“I’m very proud of this team tonight,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “We came in very focused and got off to a good start on both ends of the floor. We knew SFA would make a run, but our guys stayed the course and remained focused. We did a really good job on the boards tonight and I think we got some very good guard play, especially from Nick and Jordan.”

Hunter opened the game with consecutive three-pointers to give LU a 6-0 advantage. The triples sparked a 16-2 start for the Cardinals who converted six of their first eight attempts. While LU set the nets on fire to start the game, the Lumberjacks were ice cold missing their first six attempts, including four three-pointers. The Jacks didn’t get their first field goal until the 14:28 mark of the opening half.

Unfortunately, SFA followed the basket up with a stop and a three-pointer, but LU kept up the pressure and pushed its advantage to 22-8. The Cardinals remained hot from the field converting 10 of their first 18 attempts to take a 27-12 advantage midway through the half.

The Cardinals finished the opening half just under 50 percent from the field knocking down 17-of-35 attempts (.486) including five three-pointers. Big Red had only eight attempts from the free throw line in the first but converted on six of the eight attempts (.750).

The Cardinals were also strong on the glass in the opening 20 minutes of action. LU outrebounded their hosts, 24-7, including 12 offensive boards. The Cardinals finished the half with more offensive boards than the total they surrendered to the Jacks.

While the Cards were sizzling offensively, Stephen F. Austin was mired in a half-ling slump. SFA finished the half with just seven field goals (.389) and only one three-pointer.

The Lumberjacks opened the second half on a 7-2 run to trim LU’s lead down to 11 just minutes into the half. LU momentarily stole the momentum back following consecutive Hunter three balls to build the Cards’ advantage back to 13 points. Both triples came as time winding down on the shot clock.

The Lumberjacks started the second half converting five of their first seven and trimmed the lead down to eight points, 59-51, with just over 10 minutes remaining. SFA continued to chip away at the lead from the free throw line forcing junior V.J. Holmes out of the game due to fouls.

Leading by just five, the Cardinals got consecutive three-pointers from freshman Davion Buster and Nick Garth to push their advantage back to double-digits. After forcing consecutive stops on the defensive end LU got clutch baskets from junior Michael Kolawole and Garth in traffic to build the lead back to 13, 75-62, with 2:47 to play. The Cardinals pushed their lead to 15 after a Hunter miss was followed up by an offensive rebound and put back from Nzeakor. The Lumberjacks never seriously threatened after that as LU took care of business at the free throw line.

The Cardinals return to action Wednesday against Northwestern State. The game against the Demons will tip off at 7 p.m. from the Montagne Center. It can be heard live on Newstalk 560 and will be streamed on ESPN+.