Four reach double figures as UNO downs Lamar improves to 3-0 in Southland play
Champion finished with 13 points and three blocks
NEW ORLEANS – The self-proclaimed energy guy brought the crowd to its feet on both ends of the floor finishing with 13 points, highlighted by two dunks and three blocks as Diontae Champion led the University of New Orleans (6-8, 3-0 Southland) to a 72-62 victory over Lamar University (10-6, 2-1 Southland) Wednesday evening at Lakefront Arena.
The junior went flying on an alley-oop off the dish by Bryson Robinson, who finished with 12 points, five rebounds, two steals and a career-high eight assists. Makur Puou added 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting and Travin Thibodeaux was 4-of-5 for 12 points, three steals and three blocks.
A 10-0 run put the Privateers in front 13-4 at the under-16 media with Troy Green pacing the way with five. Robinson was the distributor with three assists.
Puou stepped outside his range twice, beating the buzzer with jumpers for eight points through the under-8 media as the Privateers led 25-11.
The defending champions limited the 2017 all-Southland Conference first team selection and preseason first teamer Colton Weisbrod to zero points and two fouls in the opening stanza.
The Privateer defense swarmed the Cardinals to a total of 12 turnovers and 27.3 percent shooting.
Puou led all players with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. The 16 points were the fewest allowed in a Southland Conference game.
New Orleans extended its lead to 18 at the 17:25 mark but Lamar scored seven unanswered to make it an 11-point game heading into the under-16.
The Cardinals went on a second run and cut its deficit to four with 7:36 to play behind the three-point shooting Zjori Bosha.
Moments later, Thibodeaux came up with a huge steal as he went out of bounds, leading to an alley oop by Champion off the Robinson dish. The assist was BRob’s eighth, a new career-high, giving UNO an eight-point cushion with 3:50 left to play.
A second chance rebound by Champ allowed the Privateers to chip away at the clock and after running some time away, Thibodeaux did the same as head coach Mark Slessinger called a timeout with 1:23 remaining.
In the final 1:15, the Privateers went 8-of-8 from the charity stripe to improve to 3-0 in Southland play with the 72-62 victory over the Cardinals.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Puou led the Privateers with 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting but Champion and Thibodeaux posted 11 and 10 in the second half, respectively, to finish with 13 points and 12 points. Robinson hit two triples and concluded the game with 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Thibodeaux added five boards, three steals, two assists and two blocks and Champion swatted away three attempts.
Josh Nzeakor’s 15 points led the Cardinals but the hot man in the second was Bosha, who scored 14 points – 12 from three-point range.
The defending Southland Conference champions flip the calendar to 2018 and host Lamar University Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. at Lakefront Arena.
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