LCU men start fast, hold off St. Edward’s, 91-80

Arrington’s four 3s fuel Chaps’ early surge

Marcus Arrington will carry a vivid memory from his last home game as a Lubbock Christian University basketball player.

 

The Chaparrals’ pass-first point guard made a career-high four 3-point goals in the first eight minutes Saturday, getting LCU off to a flying start, and the Chaps went on to beat St. Edward’s 91-80 in the Heartland Conference regular-season finale.

The four 3s from Arrington and three buckets from Isaac Cardona — two of the five seniors playing for the final time at the Rip Griffin Center — gave LCU an 18-7 lead. The Chaps kept stretching their advantage, to as many as 24 points in the second half, which gave them enough wiggle room to withstand a Hilltoppers rally.

“Just came out ready to play,” Arrington said, “and I think their strategy was to double (team) off of my guy. That’s why it was open. Brennen (Fowler) and Isaac got me the ball in time, and I was able to knock them down.”

LCU (18-10, 12-6) will be the No. 5 seed in the Heartland Conference tournament at Tulsa, Oklahoma, and play No. 4 seed Rogers State (19-9, 12-6) at 7:30 p.m Friday. LCU and Rogers State finished one game behind conference tri-champions Texas A&M International (20-9), Dallas Baptist (19-9) and Arkansas-Fort Smith (20-10), all of whom went 13-5 in conference.

The Chaps’ consolation prize was a near-blowout against a team with whom it usually plays tight games.

“I think anytime you can beat St. Ed’s — they’re a great team — but especially when you can do it at home on senior night, that’s a lot of fun,” said senior forward Tyler Rogers from Frenship. “I’m so blessed to be able to have my career here and play with the guys that I have.

“When I came here (from Abilene Christian University) in my sophomore year, the guys that were here were awesome, and I feel like we laid a foundation where we could keep building. To win here at home, your last game, it’s pretty special.”

Five Chaps scored in double digits, led by Marcos Schuster with 19 points. Fowler, Arrington, freshman guard Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath and Rogers finished with 16, 16, 15 and 13, respectively.

Schuster got hot for the second Saturday in a row, making 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and the Chaps collectively were 13 of 19.

“I’m just playing with more confidence than, I feel like, early in the year,” said Schuster, the junior guard from Frenship. “I’m not really hunting shots. They’re just getting me open, my teammates are, and I’m just doing what I’ve done for three years I’ve been here. It’s just happened to start going in.”

Schuster made three 3s the week before against Oklahoma Panhandle State, and that can be a difference maker for the Chaps.

“That’s really, really good — a good sign for us,” Arrington said, “because if he’s scoring the ball, we’re dangerous.”

Schuster hit three 3s in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second half to make LCU’s lead 63-39, and the Chaps were still up 77-55 with seven minutes left.

Then St. Edward’s (17-14, 9-9) made six 3s between the 6:48 and 2:58 marks to get within 85-78 before fading. Four came from James Taylor, including a three-possession sequence in which the Hilltoppers forward had two 3s and a four-point play that cut it from 77-60 to 79-70 with 4:47 to go.

“At half, one of the first things we all said,” Rogers said, “was, ‘Hey, it’s going to be a ball game.’ A team like that is never out of it. They showed us they can score quick.”

LCU went 24 for 24 from the free-throw line. The Chaps’ last 12 points came from the line with Rogers, Fowler and Arrington each 4-for-4 in the last four minutes.

LCU 91, ST. EDWARD’S 80

ST. EDWARD’S — Burton 5-14 6-7 16, Gilbert 2-9 0-0 6, McKendree 2-5 0-0 4, Watkins 5-10 4-4 16, Gramlich 5-17 2-2 15, Taylor 6-9 1-1 17, Doria 0-0 0-0 0, Paterson 1-2 0-0 3, Goesling 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 27-68 13-14 80.

LCU — Grant 0-2 0-0 0, Rogers 3-6 6-6 13, Cardona 3-4 0-0 6, Holman 0-4 4-4 4, Arrington 4-8 4-4 16, Fowler 5-7 6-6 16, Schuster 7-12 0-0 19, Gilbreath 5-5 2-2 15, Workman 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 27-50 24-24 91.

Halftime score: LCU 47, St. Edward’s 31. 3-point goals: St. Edward’s 13-30 (Taylor 4-7, Gramlich 3-9, Watkins 2-3, Gilbert 2-6, Goesling 1-2, Paterson 1-2, Burton 0-1), LCU 13-19 (Schuster 5-8, Arrington 4-5, Gilbreath 3-3, Rogers 1-2, Grant 0-1). Total fouls: St. Edward’s 22, LCU 14. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: St. Edward’s 29 (McKendree 8), LCU 35 (Fowler 10). Assists: St. Edward’s 19 (Watkins 7), LCU 17 (Arrington 6). Steals: St. Edward’s 13 (Gramlich 3, Gilbert 3), LCU 7 (Holman 2, Rogers 2). Turnovers: St. Edward’s 12 (Gilbert 4), LCU 18 (Arrington 4, Holman 4). Blocked shots: St. Edward’s 0, LCU 2 (Fowler 2). Records: St. Edward’s 17-13, 9-9; LCU 18-10, 12-6.

 

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