HOUSTON (AP) Nick Garth scored 22 points, Josh Nzeakor went off for nine of his 19 points in the first two minutes of the second half and Lamar broke open a tight game to pull away from Houston Baptist 87-73 Wednesday night and earn a spot in the Southland Conference playoffs.

Houston Baptist, already eliminated from the playoffs, had beaten Lamar four straight times at Houston but was unable to play spoiler Wednesday. Although the Huskies were trailing by just 36-35 at halftime, Nzeakor, who scored all 19 in the second half, broke the game open right after the break. He opened the second half with a three-point play, added a pair of free throws, a layup and a dunk to stake Lamar to a 47-37 lead.

James Harrison scored 20 points for Lamar (18-11, 10-6) and Torey Noel matched his career best with 10 assists and added five steals. The Cardinals have won their last three.

David Caraher scored 17 points and Edward Hardt added 16 for Houston Baptist (6-22, 2-13), which has lost six of seven.

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