Lamar sports informationBEAUMONT – Senior James Harrison scored a career-high 22 points to lead Lamar to a Southland Conference opening victory over Houston Baptist, but it was junior Nick Garth who took center stage becoming the Cardinals all-time leader in three-point fields. LU defeated the Huskies, 86-68, Thursday evening at the Montagne Center to improve to 9-5 on the season and 1-0 in Southland Conference play.“This one was important from the standpoint that you always want to start league play with a victory and protect your home court,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “We came out and hit some big shots tonight. Houston Baptist didn’t wilt under the weight of LU’s strong shooting. The Huskies shot nearly 57 percent from the field in the second, to overcome a 9-of-31 (.290) performance in the opening half. HBU struggled at the free throw line converting just 8 of 15 (.533) attempts.Harrison set the pace with his career-high performance (his third consecutive career-high), but he wasn’t the only Cardinal to walk away with a career effort Thursday. Junior Josh Nzeakor scored 12 points and pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds. Senior Zjori Bosha scored 19 points on a near perfect 8-of-10 (.800) performance.Garth came off the bench to score 13 points on 5-of-11, including three triples. It was his second three-ball of the night that made him the school’s all-time leader in that category. Garth eclipsed Matt Sundblad who hit 192 three-pointers from 1995-99.The shorthanded Huskies finished the night with two players in double figures led by Ian DuBose’s 18. “The thing that I think I’m the most proud of tonight is we played unselfish basketball,” added Price. “We had 22 assists on 33 field goals. I thought we were very dominant on the boards. Houston Baptist is a very good rebounding team. The Huskies had 26 offensive rebounds at Michigan State.“James got the start and hit some big shots for us all night. I thought Nick did the same thing coming off the bench, and Josh Nzeakor was strong tonight in the paint with a double-double. This was a true team effort,” added Price.The Cardinals opened the game on a 10-0 run, and didn’t allow the Huskies to dent the scoreboard until the 15:24 mark when Jalon Gates hit a three-pointer. The Huskies would trim the deficit down to four points before Big Red pushed it back to double digits.The remainder of the half continued to be a cat and mouse performance that saw LU gain a double-digit lead only to have the Huskies trim it back to four points. Garth’s record-setting three-ball came with 5:35remaining the first half to give the Cardinals back an 11-point lead, 34-23. The Huskies would score six of the final eight points in the half to go into the locker room down by six.The cat-and-mouse game continued until the 17:05 mark of the second half. The Cardinals got a jumper from Harrison in the paint to give LU a nine-point advantage. The basket sparked a 14-6 run to give the LU a 17-point lead with 14:26 remaining. Big Red pushed its lead to 18 points before the Huskies began to chip away again.Sparked by an Oliver Lynch-Daniels three-pointer with just under 13 minutes remaining, the Huskies rattled off eight consecutive points to pull within 10 – all eight points coming from Lynch-Daniels. The Cardinals immediately responded with an and-one from junior Torey Noel followed by a three-pointer from Harrison (one of five on the night) to reclaim a 16-point advantage. The Huskies never got closer than 13 the rest of the way as LU would push its lead to as many as 20 points in the second half.The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they travel to Corpus Christi to take on the Islanders. The game against A&M-Corpus Christi is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. from the American Bank Center. It can be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI. “We’re all very happy for Nick Garth. This is a true team out there on the floor. These guys like to hang out and they really root for each other. I don’t know if you could see it after the game, but when Nick was handed the game ball his teammates were more excited than he was.”The Cardinals finished the night shooting nearly 49 percent from the field (33 of 68) following a strong second-half performance. LU connected on nearly 64 percent of their attempts in the second half, including a 6-of-9 (.667) from three-point range during that stretch.It wasn’t just the effort on the offensive end that led to the victory. The Cards outworked a good rebounding team on the glass, 43-33, including 18 offensive rebounds.