Fourth Straight Loss

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Lamar University went nearly seven minutes without scoring a point in the opening half, a stretch that saw LU go from up four to down 11, and was never able to reclaim the lead falling to North Carolina A&T, 74-70, Saturday on the final day of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic from the Orleans Arena.

It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Cardinals (8-5) who opened the year 8-1. The four-point victory for the Aggies ended a three-game slide for North Carolina A&T.

“I’m really disappointed with our performance,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “The shooting slump in the first half really hurt us. This is something we’ve been battling over the course of the past four games. We knew this road trip wasn’t going to be easy, but we scheduled it for that reason. We wanted to see a lot of varying styles before we start Southland play. We now will need to put this behind us and get ready for the start of league play.”

The Cardinals finished the game shooting 39 percent from the field, following a 19-of-40 (.475) performance in the final 20 minutes. LU converted just six field goals in the opening 20 minutes of action. LU also took care of business from the free throw line going 11-of-13 (.846) from the stripe.

The Cards outrebounded the Aggies by two, including 13 offensive rebounds. The Cardinals’ advantage on the offensive glass led to a 13-point advantage in second chance points. Big Red also got a boost from its reserves outscoring the Aggies, 36-18.

North Carolina A&T finished the day 24-of-45 (.533) from the field, including a 10-of-17 (.588) effort in the second half. The Aggies struggled from the beyond the arc (3-of-11/.273) but it didn’t matter as they converted 23-of-27 (.852) from the free throw line.

Senior Colton Weisbrod led the Cardinals with 22 points and 11 rebounds – his fourth double-double of the season. Weisbrod was joined in double digits by classmate James Harrison, who recorded a career high for the second consecutive game. He followed up his 17-point effort Friday with an 18-point outing Saturday.

The Aggies were led by 21 points and nine rebounds from Femi Olujobi. After shooting 6-of-9 from the field in the opening half Olujobi was held without a field goal in the second.

The Cardinals managed to build a four-point lead nearly eight minutes into the first half, 12-8, but North Carolina A&T caught fire moments later rattling off a 15-0 run to build an 11-point advantage. The drought for the Cardinals lasted nearly seven minutes, and finally came to an end when Nzeakor hit consecutive free throws.

Although LU managed to stop the bleeding, the damage had been done. The Red and White went into the locker room trailing by 11, 32-21. Things got worse just moments into the second half as the Aggies pushed their lead to 18 points.

On the verge of being knocked out early, the Cardinals came to life. Sparked by a Weisbrod layup in traffic, LU rattled off a run of their own to cut the deficit to five points. The Cardinals cut the deficit to just five points with a 15-2 run over the next 6:43 of game time. LU managed to pull within four points following a Garth three-pointer with just over six minutes remaining but that would be as close as LU would get despite a barrage of three-pointers from Garth and Harrison down the stretch.

The Cardinals return to action Thursday, Dec. 28, when they open Southland Conference play against Houston Baptist. The game against the Huskies will tip off at 7 p.m. from Montagne Center.

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