Lamar University Press Logo

14 Seconds

Senior Josh Nzeakor shoots a free throw during Lamar’s 81-79 victory against Stephen F. Austin State University, Saturday, in the Montagne Center. UP photo by Lakota Johnson
Senior Josh Nzeakor shoots a free throw during Lamar’s 81-79 victory against Stephen F. Austin State University, Saturday, in the Montagne Center.

Lamar men’s basketball came out with a striking victory against Stephen F. Austin, Saturday. The Cardinals defeated the Lumberjacks 81-79 in the Montagne Center in an intense nail-biting victory that ended with two freethrows in the final 14 seconds to decide the game.

“Feels great to come out with this victory,” head coach Tic Price said. “We knew it would be a tough game, SFA always gives us a run for our money, but overall our preparation outweighed our mistakes and we came out with the win.”

The beginning of the game was a continuous back-and-forth battle between the two teams. It seemed as if neither team could miss as senior Nick Garth started the game with back-to-back 3-pointers to commence the Cardinals offense. Stephen F. Austin also jumped out to a hot start with four consecutive points from their senior guard Shannon Bogues.

It was a constant scoring battle between the teams as the first half went underway. The persistent duel continued after 10 minutes in the game, with a tie score of 19. However, senior Josh Nzeakor helped fuel the arena with two slam dunks and an “and-1” to extend the Cardinals lead.

Nzeakor’s energy was not the only vitality holding the team together, as freshman Davion Buster added to the Cardinals lead with two 3-pointers ending the first half. The Cardinals ended the half with a lead of 40-43, with Buster on six points, and Nzeakor with 10.

“Our main focus was to win every possession and make sure we don’t let them get comfortable. We had to make sure we controlled the game from start to finish,” Buster said.

The second stanza was tense as the teams continued to go head-to-head from start to finish, as Stephen F. Austin jumped out to a quick start with 10 crucial points from forward Davonte Fitzgerald. But, it wasn’t enough to stop the Cardinals from taking it away, with Buster’s back-to-back 3-pointers and Garth’s 3-pointer off Buster’s steal sending the Cardinals on their run.

“I told myself before the game that I was going to do anything I could to help my team win,” Buster said. “I wasn’t making shots at first so I started to try to get some rebounds and make more defensive stops until I got a rhythm and my shots started to fall.”

The final minutes of the game continued to rage as the battle went on between the two teams, but late mistakes by Stephen F. Austin were the difference maker. It all came down to the Cardinals’ defense to finish the game.

As the score sat at 80-79 with 14 seconds left in the half, it was Lumberjack’s ball. In an urge to get off a shot, SFA guard Kevin Harris rushed down the court and lost the ball to a good defense play from LU’s Grehlon Easter, who stole the ball. SFA was forced to foul guard V.J. Holmes ,who sunk both free throws to end the game, 81-79. This was the second time this season the Cardinals were able to take the win over SFA.

“It all just came down to who wanted it more. It was a constant fight from start to finish like we knew it would be,” Price said. “But our boys stepped out and did what they had to do to pull out the victory.”

The Cardinals will face rival McNeese State, Saturday, in the Montagne Center at 4:30 p.m. 

Category: Sports