LAKE CHARLES, La. — On Saturday afternoon, the Lamar Cardinals were looking for their first season sweep over the McNeese State Cowboys since the 1993-94 season.
It took a little bit of extra work down the stretch to hold off a late rally from the Cowboys, but the Cardinals successfully completed the sweep.
Junior forward Colton Weisbrod played all 40 minutes on the day, recording a game-high 32 points to help lead the Cardinals to the 90-83 victory to close out the regular season.
Weisbrod finished the game shooting 12-of-15 from the floor, and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. It was his second game scoring 30+ points this season, and he was just two points shy of his career high.
Lamar was lights out to start the game. The Cardinals made nine of their first 10 field goal attempts, opening up a 13-2 lead in the process. McNeese would start to find their shooting stroke, but the damage appeared to be done already.
The Cowboys cut the lead down to 10 points with just over 10 minutes to play in the opening half on a layup from freshman Kalob Ledoux. From there, Lamar went on a 28-17 run that pushed their lead back up to 21 points.
At the break, the Cardinals held a 17-point lead, at 52-35.
In the second half, the Cardinals would never trail, but the Cowboys still made Lamar work for their victory.
McNeese opened the second half on a 21-7 run, capped off by another layup from Ledoux that cut the deficit down to just three points with 11:31 to play in the game, at 59-56.
Lamar put an end to the run with a three pointer from Nick Garth, and they looked to regain their momentum from the first half.
The teams traded baskets over the next several minutes, but the Cowboys were never able to get within three points the rest of the way. Whenever the home side tried to take a lead, the Cardinals had an answer and maintained a stranglehold on the lead.
Down the stretch, the Cardinals stretched their lead up to as many as 10 points in the closing minutes, and held on for the 90-83 victory, completing the season sweep of the Cowboys in the process.
Including Weisbrod, four Lamar players scored in double-figures on the day. Nick Garth (14 points) and Christian Albright (10 points) made big contributions off the bench, while Joey Frenchwood added 12 points and 5 assists.
Lamar’s reserves outscored the reserves for McNeese by a 31-10 margin on the day, a stat that played a big part in the Cardinals’ victory.
Not to be outdone, the Cowboys also had four players score in double-figures in the loss. In his final home game, Jamaya Burr went 6-of-10 from the field, scoring a team-high 21 points on the day.
Freshman Kalob Ledoux added 17 points, and Stephen Ugochukwu chipped in with 14 points.
McNeese State closes out the 2016-17 season with a record of 7-22 overall, and 4-14 in conference play.
With the win, the Cardinals locked up the six-seed in the Southland Conference tournament, which will be their first appearance in the eight-team field since the 2011-12 season.
They will take on the Southeastern Louisiana Lions on Wednesday night in Katy, Texas, with the winner earning a date with the third-seed Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks on Thursday.
– T. Bennett