LAKE CHARLES – Lamar opened the second half on a 15-4 run in the first four minutes, then scored seven straight 10 minutes later after McNeese pulled to within 62-60 to help lead the Cardinals to an 84-75 Southland Conference win over the Cowboys Saturday afternoon.
The loss dropped the Cowboys to 7-14 overall and 3-5 in league play while Lamar evened its record at 11-11 on the season and 4-5 in the conference.
McNeese’s Roydell Brown led the Cowboys with 26 points, his fourth-straight 20-point game while Jarren Greenwood added 10.
Lamar had four players score in double-digits – Christian Barrett with 17, Jordan Hunter and Nick Garth 16 each, and Josh Nzeakor with 12.
McNeese, who started the game with three straight traveling calls, led 35-31 at the half after James Harvey knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Cowboys connected on 61 percent of their shots in the first half but were unable to extend any kind of lead due to turnovers, which Lamar scored eight points from.
In the second half, a questionable charging call on Sha’Markus Kennedy that appeared to be a flop by the Lamar defender, led to a technical foul on Cowboys’ head coach Heath Schroyer. The Cardinals strung together a 9-2 run following the foul and led 41-37 with 17:28 to play.
The lead grew to 46-39 after a Hunter 3-pointer but Trey Touchet, who dished out six assists with no turnovers, answered with his own three to cut the margin back to four.
Lamar led 57-50 with 9:58 to play when the Cowboys chipped away to pull to within 62-60 after a couple of Touchet free throws.
But what followed was a 7-0 Lamar run that was kept alive by back-to-back McNeese turnovers that resulted in five Cardinal points.
A couple of Greenwood free throws made it a 70-66 game with 3:42 to play but Lamar answered with a 10-1 run over the next two minutes to open up an 80-67 lead with 1:36 to play.
For the game, Lamar 42 of its points off turnovers and second chances combined with 26 of those off 16 McNeese turnovers.
The Cowboys connected on 55 percent of its field goals (27 of 49) but made just 61 percent from the free throw line (17 of 28).
The Cardinals shot 48 percent from the field (30 of 62) and 85 percent from the free throw line (17 of 20). Lamar also outrebounded the Cowboys by a 35-25 margin.
McNeese will be back in action on Wednesday night when it visits first place Sam Houston State.