By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay
After a couple of dismal seasons, the Lamar Cardinals of the Southland Conference took a large step toward respectability Tuesday night in Beaumont, winning the rebounding battle decisively and hitting 10 of 11 free throws down the stretch to stun the UTSA Roadrunners, 90-82.
Two years ago, in Alvin Brooks’ first season as coach at Lamar, the Cardinals finished 2-27. Last year, they made some improvements but still closed with a 9-22 record. Now, they’re 2-1 after beating the Roadrunners of the American Athletic Conference, who fell to 1-2 on the season and to 0-2 on the road.
The game was won — and lost — on the glass. The Cardinals held the edge on the boards overall, 57-45, but most noticeably on the offensive end, where they dominated, 25-12. “Their offensive rebounding was just, ridiculous,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told broadcaster Andy Everett on KTKR radio.
“They got ’em in the paint. They got the long rebounds. That was the ballgame right there,” the coach said.
Lamar forward Terry Anderson and center Adam Hamilton did the most damage. As the clock ticked down below 2:30 in the second half, Anderson made a couple of big plays and scored six quick points during a decisive 12-5 run to the final buzzer.
He finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. Hamilton had 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. His offensive rebounding hurt the Roadrunners, as well, as he crashed for six of them. Time and again, it seemed the two of them would beat UTSA players to caroms to extend possessions.
“We defended them well enough,” Henson said. “Their shooting percentage wasn’t good. They just got so many extra shots. We took care of the ball. We were very concerned with their pressure. They (played) pretty frantic. We handled that, for the most part … but the rebounding, that was the ball game.”
Adante’ Holiman, who came out of the game briefly at the end after he was shaken up, re-entered and finished the night as UTSA’s leading scorer with 22 points. He hit seven of 16 shots from the field, including four of 11 from three-point range. Trey Edmonds had 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, while seven foot Carlton Linguard Jr. contributed 10 points and seven boards.
Off the bench, PJ Carter energized the team with 12 points and Isaiah Wyatt had 11. Combined, they hit seven of 14 from the field. But in the end, the Roadrunners allowed the Cardinals to have too many possessions, and as for their own offense, they just seemed to have too many hiccups at inopportune times.
UTSA at Texas State, Friday, 7 p.m.
UTSA opened the season at home, winning 78-68 in overtime against Western Illinois. In their second game, the Roadrunners journeyed into the Big Ten neighborhood of the Minnesota Golden Gophers and lost 102-76. After losing at Lamar, UTSA is averaging 78.7 per game on offense but is giving up 86.7. Opponents are outrebounding them, 156-124. It’s a small sample size of games, but as it stands, points allowed and rebounding numbers are alarming.
Adante’ Holiman has played well offensively in the past two, scoring 36 points and knocking down eight of 17 from three-point territory. Dre Fuller Jr. scored a career-high 16 at Minnesota but suffered a tough night against Lamar — held scoreless, on zero-for-seven shooting from the floor.
For Lamar, a former San Antonio-area standout enjoyed a solid game as junior transfer Ja’Sean Jackson had 12 points and five assists. Jackson, a transfer from Abilene Christian who played in high school at Wagner, hit a buzzer-beating shot off the glass from halfcourt at halftime.