Paige, Cardinals have formidable hoop schedule

Published 1:22 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018

BEAUMONT — Lamar University has a nice upcoming basketball schedule for Coach Tic Price and the Cardinals will have a little Orange County flavor in the form of former West Orange-Stark product Laquarious Paige.

Paige, a junior, is a transfer from Indiana State University.

He played in 63 games as a Sycamore and averaged 6.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists as a sophomore before coming to Lamar and had to sit out one year.

Paige was the Most Valuable Player on the 2014 All-Orange Leader Team in which he averaged 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists a game for the Mustangs. As a junior,, Paige was the MVP on the All-District 21-3A Team after averaging 15.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

Lamar will play 31 games, including 15 home dates, during the 2018-19 season. The nationally competitive schedule will include games against teams representing the Atlantic Coast Conference, American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Western Athletic Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference before the Cards open Southland competition.

“This is probably the toughest non-conference scheduled we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Price. “We want to test our guys in the non-conference portion of the season to get them ready for league play. There will be challenges throughout the year, but I think we can learn from the challenges and get better as a team.”

The Cardinals tip off the new season Tuesday, Nov. 6 at home against Huston-Tillotson. The contest against the Rams will be LU’s lone tune up before a tough two-game road trip that will take them to Georgia Tech (Nov. 9) and East Carolina (Nov. 11).

The Cardinals will be back home for two beginning Saturday, Nov. 17 when they host Prairie View A&M. The Red and White will close out the small homestand two days later against Arlington Baptist. The game against the Patriots will be the final time fans can see the Cardinals in the Montagne Center for the a month. The Cardinals will open a grueling five-game road swing that will consist of dates at UT Rio Grande Valley, SMU, Rice, Houston and Cal State Bakersfield.

LU will be in Edinburg, Texas Friday, Nov. 23 to face the Vaqueros. The Cards will have four days to rest after UTRGV before taking on SMU Tuesday, Nov. 27. Big Red will then play consecutive games in Houston taking on the Rice Owls Saturday, Dec. 1 followed by Houston Tuesday (Dec. 4). The Cardinals will close out the long road trip at CSU Bakersfield Thursday, Dec. 13.

The Cardinals then return home to open one of two season-long three-game homestands which will take LU through the Christmas holidays and close out the non-conference portion of the season. The first of the three-game homestands begins Wednesday, Dec. 19 against Texas Southern, followed by a contest against Howard Payne two nights later. LU closes out the non-conference portion of the schedule Saturday, Dec. 29 against Champion College.

The Cardinals open Southland play, and the New Year, on the road Wednesday, Jan. 2 at Houston Baptist. The conference home opener will be three days later against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. LU will once again have two games against rivals Stephen F. Austin and McNeese. Big Red closes the regular season with SFA (Mar. 2) and the Cowboys (Mar. 9) in Beaumont.

“The goal is for us to continually build this program,” said Price. “Over the course of the past couple years we’ve recorded at least one upset on a national scale, and we want to continue to build upon that. As a staff, we want to help our guys understand the level of play they need to compete at night in and night to win in this conference.”

It has been just four years since Price took over a program that had won a total of six games combined in the two seasons prior to his arrival. In the past two years, Price’s teams have recorded back-to-back 19-win campaigns and advanced to the Tournaments.