Lions rally from 16 down at Lamar to stay undefeated in Southland
BEAUMONT, Texas – Southeastern Louisiana held Lamar without a field goal over the final 11:56 to rally from a 42-27 halftime deficit and remain undefeated in Southland Conference play with a 63-58 win at Lamar in the Montagne Center Wednesday night.
Southeastern (10-7, 4-0 Southland) won its first four games to start Southland for the first time since joining the league for the 1997-98 season. The Lions are also 3-0 on the road in conference play for the first time in the Southland.
Southeastern trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and were still down 53-42 with 11:56 left. But the Lions held Lamar (10-8, 2-3 Southland) to just five free throws the rest of the way in out-scoring the Cardinals 36-16 in the second half.
Junior guard Marlain Veal floated a jumper in the lane to give Southeastern its first lead since early in the game at 55-54 with 4:21 left. Veal added a three-point play in the final two minutes and junior Moses Greenwood had five points in the final four minutes.
Veal finished with team-highs of 15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Senior guard Jabbar Singleton, whose 3-pointer brought Southeastern to within one with 4:59 left, contributed 14 points while Greenwood had 11 points and three blocks. The Lions shot 61.5 percent (16-of-26) in the second half after making just 33.3 percent (10-of-30) in the first and out-rebounded Lamar, 41-34.
Lamar was led by Josh Nzeakor with 15 points and nine rebounds. Nick Garth added 13 points while Colton Weisbrod had 12. The Cardinals shot 37.3 percent overall after making just 5 of its 25 shots in the second half.
After Veal hit the jumper, he found Greenwood for a layup to make it 57-54 with 3:50 left. Weisbrod hit two of four free throws over the next two possessions to cut the deficit to one with 2:33 left. But Veal was fouled after making a jumper in the paint and added the free throw for a 60-56 lead with 1:40 left.
After Zjori Bosha hit two free throws, Greenwood knocked down a jumper from the right wing to make it 62-58 with a minute remaining. Lamar missed three 3s in the final minute before Greenwood added a free throw with 2 seconds left.
Lamar scored 20 points in the paint and added six 3-pointers in jumping out to a 42-27 halftime lead. Southeastern cut the deficit to 42-32 on a Veal layup with 18:05 remaining. Junior guard Keith Charleston hooked in a short jumper and Singleton scored off a Veal inbounds to bring the Lions to within 47-40 at the 13:09 mark. Garth took a Bosha block in to put Lamar back up 53-42 with 11:56 left.
Senior forward James Currington started the Southeastern comeback with a putback with 11:26 remaining. Senior forward Jordan Capps and Greenwood added jumpers in the paint before Veal drove the lane for a layup. Singleton then knocked down the 3 from the left wing to make it 54-53 with 4:59 remaining.
Southeastern took its final lead of the first half at 10-9 on a Singleton 3 with 14:42 left. Nzeakor answered with a layup and Bosha added a 3 from the right wing to give Lamar a 14-10 lead with 14:07 remaining.
After senior guard Joshua Filmore cut the deficit to one with a 3, the Cardinals went on a 17-3 run over the next 6:24. Garth hit a 3 and Weisbrod and Nzeakor had five points each during the span. James Harrison drove the right baseline to make it 31-16 at the 7:24 mark.
Greenwood tossed back a rebound to end a 4:40 field goal drought for the Lions with 7:02 left in the half. But Harrison hit a 3 with 3:39 left to give Lamar its biggest lead at 39-23.
Southeastern snapped a two-game losing streak against Lamar and won in Beaumont for the first time since 2014. The Lions cut the Cardinals’ lead in the series to 26-22.
Southeastern has now won six games away from Hammond (5-6 on the road, 1-0 at neutral sites) for the first time since 2010-11.
Southeastern trailed at the half for the first time in a Southland Conference game this season.
Southeastern opens a three-game homestand Saturday against McNeese in the University Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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