joey frenchwood

The Lamar Cardinals beat the McNeese State Cowboys, 77-57, in Southland Conference basketball action, Saturday, in the Montagne Center.

The Cardinals started the game strong, jumping out to 16-2 lead after eight minutes to effectively put the game away, highlighted by junior guard Joey Frenchwood’s steal and passed the ball to Josh Nzeakor for a dunk after four minutes which ignited the crowd.

“I was real pleased with this team,” head coach Tic Price said. “We’ve had some good starts this year, but it was a good start especially against your rival.”

McNeese struggled to make shots, ending the first half trailing 44-18.

Junior forward Colton Weisbrod hit his ninth double-double, with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Nzeakor scored 12 points and added seven rebounds, while Zjori added nine points and five rebounds, and Nick Garth chipped in with 11 points.

“Anytime we’re playing sound defense I think we’re going to have a great outcome,” Bosha said.

The Cardinals did not let up in the second half and built a 28-point. The Cowboys finally began to make shots and cut the lead to 17-points. However, Marcus Owens hit a three pointer to push the lead back to 20, and that was as close as McNeese got.

LU outscored McNeese 32-18 in the paint and 22-6 in second chance points. The Cardinals were strong on the glass, picking up 24 rebounds the first half and 52 overall.

“We were energized right from the tip, and we came out there and did what we were supposed to do,” Weisbrod said. “I’d say this has to be the best half we’ve played.”

Price said the team did a good job with clock management.

“It’s all-and-all to beat your rival,” he said “It makes it good, but we’ve got a rough road ahead of us right now — we know that Sam Houston is coming in.”

Weisbrod said that when the team came out for warm ups the players could feel the energy in the arena, and it showed right from the start.

“It kind of gives us a little bit of energy when our players run out on that floor and they see people there cheering, or when we need a stop or a good play our fans are there cheering,” he said.

Price said even though this was a good win, he cannot enjoy it because he has to get ready for the next game.

The Cardinals will host the Sam Houston State Bearkats at 7:30 p.m. today, the second half of a doubleheader with the Lady Cardinals.

The game will air on ESPN3.

Karisa Norfleet

UP contributor

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