LU hoops welcome in Prairie View Saturday

Published 3:57 pm Saturday, November 17, 2018

By Lamar SID Office

BEAUMONT, Texas – After a tough two-game stretch on the road, the Lamar University men’s basketball team returns home for two beginning Saturday with an afternoon contest against Prairie View A&M. The Cardinals will look to make amends for their recent trip to the East Coast that saw them drop tough games to Georgia Tech and East Carolina.

The Cardinals got out to a slow start against the Yellow Jackets, but outplayed Tech in the second half. Although Big Red lost the game, the LU outscored Georgia Tech, 47-44, in the final 20 minutes. The Cardinals took their momentum from the second half of the Georgia Tech game into the contest at East Carolina. The Cardinals led for much of the game before the Pirates made a late rally to force overtime and pick up the victory in the extra frame.

Things don’t get any easier for a Cardinals’ (1-2) squad as it prepares to face a very talented Prairie View A&M team. Receiving votes in the mid-major top 25 poll, Prairie View comes to Beaumont with a 1-2 (.333) overall record. The Panthers kicked off the season with an impressive 17-point victory at Santa Clara but have since dropped consecutive games at Baylor and UT Rio Grande Valley.

For the Panthers, Saturday will be the closest thing to a home contest they have for the first two months of the season. Beaumont will be stop No. 4 of a 12-game road swing to start open the 2018-19 season.

Seniors Josh Nzeakor and Nick Garth are off to the strong starts that everyone expected from the upperclassmen. Nzeakor leads the team averaging 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, while Garth is adding 14 points per game, despite getting out to a slow start from three-point range (5-19/.263). Junior T.J. Atwood has also been impressive for the Cardinals in the early part of the year averaging better than 12 points and six rebounds in the team’s three games.

Junior transfer Michael Kolawole – one of four NCAA Division I transfers on the 2018-19 squad –  is coming off his best game in the Red and White uniform. He recorded his first career double-double at East Carolina scoring 12 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.

Big Red enters the week averaging better than 75 points per game while pulling down 41.3 rebounds per game.

The Panther are led by Gary Blackstone who is scoring 19 points per game. He is one of four PVAMU players averaging in double-figures for an offense scoring 72.7 points per game. Prairie View has been outrebounded by a margin of 40-35 on the season.

History is on LU’s side in the series having never lost to Prairie View. Big Red owns a perfect 6-0 record in the series and is 3-0 in games played in Beaumont. Saturday will be the first meeting since the 2016-17 season when the Cardinals recorded a 91-83 decision on the road.

Saturday’s game will tip off at 2 p.m. from the Montagne Center. It can be seen live on ESPN3.