SAN ANTONIO, TX (KPLC) - Roydell Brown and Sha’Markus Kennedy each recorded their second straight 20-point outing and McNeese shot a remarkable 67 percent from the field as the Cowboys opened up Southland Conference play with an 88-77 win over Incarnate Word.
The victory was the first for McNeese away from home this season and second consecutive win to improve to 5-9 on the year. The Cowboys will continue league play on the road on Saturday with a visit to Northwestern State.
Brown recorded his seventh double-double on the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds while Kennedy added 20 points and eight boards.
James Harvey scored 18 points behind three 3s and Trey Touchet scored a career-high 13 points on 5 of 7 shooting, including three 3-point goals.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said head coach Heath Schroyer. “I thought we had great prep the last couple of days. It was a great team effort. My staff did an unbelievable job with the preparation and we came out and executed.”
In addition to hitting 30 of 45 from the field, McNeese hit a season-high 10 three-point goals (19 attempts) while connecting on 53 percent from long range for the game.
“I thought we shot the ball really well,” said Schroyer. “Defensively, we did a lot of good things.”
The Cowboys held a 27-19 advantage in rebounding and scored 27 point off of 14 UIW turnovers.
“It’s a big road win,” said Schroyer. “Anytime you can get a league win on the road is big. And to get one right away, it’s special.”
McNeese led 41-33 at the half but only after UIW scored eight straight points to end the frame.
The Cardinals (5-9, 0-1 SLC) cut it to 6 points with a quick layup to start the second half but back-to-back 3s by Touchet gave the Cowboys another double-digit lead that it wouldn’t relinquish until a minute to play in the game.
Later in the half, Harvey scored nine points in a 2-minute span as the Cowboys increased a 61-46 lead to a 25-point margin at 72-47 with 11:38 to play.
UIW was able to put together several mini runs but the Cowboys managed to nip it in the bud before the Cardinals managed to make a game out of it.
“We’ve been in these situation in pre-conference games. You look at NC Central, UMKC, Rio Grande Valley. We’ve been in situations where we’ve been close or had the lead in the second half, and just didn’t understand how to win. I think tonight we made winning plays when we needed to. We got some key offensive rebounds in the second half that were really big. Made some key stops. That’s how you win.”
UIW was led in scoring by Dwight Murray’s 18 points as the Cardinals hit 29 of 55 (53 percent) from the field and 10 of 22 for 46 percent from long range.
After trailing 6-0 early, the Cowboys got things going from both sides of the court.
A 9-0 run over a 3:01 span put the Cowboys up 9-6. That run was kept alive by McNeese’s defense holding the Cardinals four straight times without a basket.
UIW snapped the run with a layup but McNeese came right back with a 10-0 spurt over a 3:32 span to go up 19-8 with 10:08 left on the clock. The Cowboys got three-point baskets from Jarren Greenwood and Trey Touchet during the run while holding UIW to 0-3 from the field with two turnovers.
McNeese took its largest lead of the first half after Kevin Hunt knocked down a 3 followed by a Brown layup to make it a 37-20 lead at the 5:15 mark.
UIW scored eight straight to close out the final 2:09 of the half.
• Jarren Greenwood reached the 1,000 career point milestone with his first 3 on the night.
• The Cowboys rolled off a 19-2 run after falling behind 6-0 to start the game. During that streak, the Cowboys hit 8 of 10 from the field (3-4 from 3FG range) and held UIW to 1-9 shooting and two turnovers in the 7:14 time frame.
• McNeese’s 66.7 percent shooting from the field was just 2.5 points short of the school record of 69.2 percent set against Arkansas State in 1984.