Before the Christmas break, the Lamar Cardinals were playing some strong basketball. They had won five of their previous 6 games, and had seemingly turned things around after starting the season at 2-3. Mind you, their last two wins were against non-Division I opponents, but they were dominant performances and crucial confidence boosters moving towards 2016 and the grind of conference play.
Coming back from break, the Cardinals played host to the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets to close out their three game home stand and the non-conference portion of their schedule. They were looking to make it six wins in seven games, and the game was only close until the game tipped off.
Once the game started, it was all about the Lamar Cardinals. They led from start to finish, and the game was never tied after it was 0-0. When all was said and done, the Cardinals cruised to the easy 97-74 victory over the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets, who call Division III their home, never stood a chance from the outset of the game. Howard Payne was held off the scoreboard for nearly four minutes to open the game, thus allowing the Cardinals to seize control of the contest.
Marcus Owens scored the first two points of the game at the 19:02 mark, and that kicked off a 9-0 run to put the momentum behind the Cardinals before the Yellow Jackets had a chance to get their feet set.
Cam Frank got the Yellow Jackets on the board with a layup at 16:05, but the damage had already been done. Lamar had their opponents on the ropes, and showed no signs of slowing down or letting them back in the game.
At the 4:43 mark of the opening half, Rickey Guillory would get the Yellow Jackets to within 3 points, which may have caused the Cardinals to think about having to sweat their lead. With the way the Cardinals were firing on offense, there was no cause for concern.
Quan Jones would hit a jumper just before the buzzer to push Lamar’s lead to 45-36 at the break.
The start of the second half was the Dorian Chatman show, as he recorded the Cardinals’ first 7 points to push their lead to 52-38. He would then add another 7 points shortly thereafter to help extend the lead to as many as 27 points.
Howard Payne was never able to threaten the lead of the Cardinals, and they were hard-pressed to cut the deficit below the 20-point mark as the clock ticked away.
Thanks to strong shooting from all over the floor from a collection of players, the Lamar Cardinals were able to cruise to the 97-74 victory over the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets.
For the Yellow Jackets, they only got significant performances from two players, which isn’t enough if they had any hopes of pulling off the upset. Rickey Guillory scored a team-high 18 points to go along with 7 rebounds in the loss. He shot a respectable 5-of-8 from the floor, and 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
Forward Bryan Adams added 16 points and 5 rebounds in just 17 minutes of floor time.
As for the Lamar Cardinals, four players reached double-figures, and 9 different players recorded at least 6 points in the game. Freshman forward Dorian Chatman scored a game-high 23 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in the win. He went just 5-of-10 from the floor, but was a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line.
LeMon Gregory recorded 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Kevin Booze added 11 points and 4 steals in the victory.
The win was the third straight win over a non-Division I opponent for the Lamar Cardinals (8-4). They have won six of their last seven games, and are rolling into 2016 and Southland Conference play flying high. When the calendar flips to the New Year, the Cardinals will hit the hardwood on January 2nd for a road date against the Nicholls State Colonels.