TULSA, Okla. — Friday marks the start of what promises to be a big year for the Lamar Cardinals.
Fresh off of their appearance in the 2017 CollegeInsider.com Tournament, Tic Price and the Cardinals kick off the 2017-18 regular season with a road game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. It marks the 10th all-time meeting between the schools, with the Cardinals holding a slim 5-4 advantage over Tulsa.
Both teams find themselves in similar situations heading into the new season, as both return the bulk of their production from a season ago.
The Cardinals return 73% of their scoring and 63% of their rebounds from last year’s team that went 19-15 and advanced to the post-season for the first time since 2012. Lamar will be led by First Team All-Southland Conference forward Colton Weisbrod. Last season, Weisbrod finished top 10 in the conference in both scoring (15.1 ppg) and rebounds (8.1 rpg), while finishing fourth in double-doubles.
Lamar also welcomes back star point guard Joey Frenchwood, who posted 4.2 assists per game last season to lead the Cardinals. Sharp-shooting guard Nick Garth, who hit 42.7% of his attempts from beyond the arc, is also back to give the team another weapon on the offensive end.
Like the Cardinals, the Golden Hurricane also return their top scorer and rebounder from their 2016-17 team. Junior Etou averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season, guiding Tulsa to an overall record of 15-17.
The Golden Hurricane lost three of their last four games to end the season, and nine of their last 12 overall.
In total, Tulsa returns eight players from last year’s team, and add four newcomers, including Curran Scott, who sat out the 2016-17 season after transferring from the Charlotte 49ers.
The Golden Hurricane were picked to finish eighth in the American Athletic Conference in the preseason polls. Tulsa has finished better than their projected ranking in each of their three seasons under Frank Haith.
The last time that the Cardinals and Golden Hurricane met was back in the 2006-07 season. Tulsa held down their home court with a 78-64 victory. Despite losing the last match-up on the road, Lamar is 3-2 away from Beaumont, TX in the all-time series.
Coming into the game, the Golden Hurricane have a pair of exhibition games under their belts. Tulsa rolled past the Missouri S&T Miners and Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers by an average of 44 points. On the flip side, Lamar did not partake in an exhibition game over the month of October.
Friday’s game will tip off at 12:00pm CT inside the Donald W. Reynolds Center. It should be a packed house to open the season, as the Golden Hurricane are hosting a Blackboards and Backboards Educational Day. Over 4,100 students will be in attendance for the game, and there will be various educational booths set up around the concourse.
Be sure to follow College Court Report for post-game notes and reaction.
– T. Bennett