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Lamar downs McNeese State in Southland final

Katy, TX (Sports Network) - Mike James posted a game-high 26 points to go with nine rebounds as Lamar booked its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2000 with a 70-49 decision over McNeese State in the Southland final.

Devon Lamb added 12 points and Osas Ebomwonyi totaled nine points and nine boards for the Cardinals (23-11),

"I told these guys right at my press conference that the reason I took (the job) was because of them," said Lamar head coach Pat Knight, who turned around a program that had gone 11-30 in conference play the previous three seasons. "I thought we could win right away."

Patrick Richard scored 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds for the Cowboys (17-15), who gained the final by knocking off top seed Texas- Arlington on Friday.

Dontae Cannon had 13 points in a losing cause.

A 19-2 run spread out over eight minutes later in the first half gave Lamar control of the contest for good.

Down 13-10, Anthony Miles started the run with a deuce, Lamb hit two from the line, and after an Adrian Fields layup accounted for McNeese's lone answer, the Cardinals ripped off 15 in a row -- six alone by James -- then Stan Brown capped the burst on his layup with 3:32 left for a 29-15 game.

Lamar led 33-21 at the break.

"It changed the complexity," said McNeese head coach Dave Simmons. "To win a game like this, you have to get an inside presence, and we couldn't get to the foul line."

Richard's free throw got the Cowboys within 35-33 early in the second half, but James scored four in a row and Lamar righted itself on a 17-6 run which left it ahead 52-39 with 7 1/2 minutes left on a James lay-in.

The Cardinals kept their foot on the gas for the remainder of the game.

Cannon totaled five points and Richard four as McNeese State led 13-8 in the early stages.

Game Notes

Lamar has taken a 50-42 edge in the all-time series and won two of three this season from McNeese State...McNeese hasn't won the league playoff title since 2002 but lost to UTA in last year's championship...Saturday's game marked the first time both schools have met in the Southland tourney final.

03/11 01:24:37 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 10
NOS 28
Final
ORL 98
WAS 105
Final
MIN 97
DET 91
Final
CLE 90
NYK 95
Final
DAL 120
UTA 102
Final
LAC 93
OKC 90
7:00pm Tonight
IND
MEM
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
CLE
 
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
PHI
 
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
POR
 
10:00pm Tonight
PHO
SAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
LAC
 
Final
LOU 31
FSU 42
Final
GASO 42
TROY 10
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
CIN
8:02pm Tonight
MEM
TULSA
Final
BUF 2
BOS 3
Final
PIT 3
LOS 0
Final
NJD 2
WIN 1
Final
FLA 2
ARI 1
Final
OTT 4
CHI 5
Final
TAM 4
PHI 3
Final
STL 2
ANA 0
Final
MIN 4
SJS 3
Final
COL 5
NYI 0
Final
VAN 3
MON 2
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
LOS
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
NAS
 
Final
CAR 10
NOS 28