After their season opening win over Howard Payne, 90-47, the Lamar Cardinals embarked on a mini two-game road swing to the West Coast. Their 43-point win was impressive, but the talent level of their opponents was about to vastly improve, meaning the Cardinals would need to bring everything they had on both ends of the floor.
Up first, on Wednesday night, was a trip to Corvallis, Oregon for a date with the Oregon State Beavers.
Oregon State opened the season with back-to-back wins over the Prairie View A&M Panthers and the UTSA Roadrunners.
The Beavers showed some vulnerability against the Roadrunners, committing 15 turnovers in the win. They committed 20 turnovers against the Panthers in their opener.
On Wednesday night, the Cardinals brought pressure on the defensive end, forcing the Beavers to commit 27 turnovers for the game.
Lamar held a four-point lead at the break, and fought off a 12-0 run by the Beavers in the second half to come away with the 63-60 upset win over Oregon State.
Junior forward Colton Weisbrod played all 40 minutes of the game, recording 16 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double at the Division I level.
Following the game, Weisbrod stated that his legs were sore and cramping, but that the Cardinals were a team that’s going to fight and battle.
That they did on Wednesday night.
With the score sitting at 4-2 less than two minutes into the game for the Beavers, Weisbrod hit a layup to tie the game at 4-all. Little did we know at the time, but the 4-2 lead would be the last one that the Beavers held all night.
The Beavers would tie the game up at 9-all just a few minutes later, but a three ball from Joey Frenchwood pushed the Cardinals ahead again, and they wouldn’t look back for the entire first half.
While Lamar wasn’t able to pull away, they were able to match Oregon’s offensive production, giving themselves a lead that they were able to maintain.
A 12-4 run to open the second half, capped off by another layup from Weisbrod, spanned the first five minutes of the half and pushed Lamar’s lead to 12 points, at 41-29. Just when it looked like their backs were firmly against the wall, the Beavers stormed back.
Drew Eubanks got a layup to fall, ending Oregon State’s scoring drought, and igniting a run for the Beavers. Over the next four-plus minutes, the Beavers held the Cardinals off the scoreboard, reeling off a 12-0 run to tie the game at 41-all with less than 10 minutes to play in the game.
Marcus Owens scored five quick points to end Oregon State’s run, and put Lamar ahead once more by five points, a lead which they would hold for the remainder of the game.
The Cardinals bent, but never broke, amidst Oregon State’s rally.
Oregon State had one last attempt to tie the game and send it to overtime. With less than 2 seconds on the clock, Lamar guard Torey Noel missed the second of two free throws, giving the Beavers a chance to tie the game on a three.
Tres Tinkle threw up a desperation heave from past half court that was nowhere close, and the upset was complete.
Lamar forced the Beavers into committing 27 turnovers, and came away with the 63-60 victory over Oregon State.
The Lamar Cardinals used a balance offensive attack on Wednesday night, as five players scored at least five points, led by Weisbrod’s team-high 16 points. Senior guard Marcus Owens chipped in with 15 points and 7 rebounds of his own, while Joey Frenchwood recorded 8 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals.
The Cardinals struggled in terms of shooting, finishing the game just 20-of-71 (28.2%) from the floor, and just 15-of-24 (62.5%) from the free throw line.
Where Lamar won the game, however, was on the defensive end of the floor. They forced the Beavers into 27 turnovers on the evening, capitalizing on Oregon State’s biggest weakness.
Oregon State’s high for turnovers last season was 18.
For the Beavers, Drew Eubanks led the way on the night, recording 17 points, 18 rebounds, and 6 blocks in a losing effort. Jaquori McLaughlin added 15 points of his own.
Tres Tinkle was held in check most of the night, recording 9 points on 1-of-7 shooting from the floor, while committing five turnovers.
Up next for the Lamar Cardinals (2-0, 0-0) is the second game on their West Coast swing, before they return to the friendly confines of Beaumont, Texas. The Cardinals will look to build off Wednesday’s win when they take on the Fresno State Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
– T. Bennett