HUNTSVILLE, TX – McNeese State ran its winning streak to three games here Wednesday night with a 67-71 victory over Sam Houston State.
The Cowboys, now 6-2 in Southland Conference play, remained in a tie for first place in the eastern division of the standings with Northwestern State, which also won its game against Central Arkansas.
McNeese also evened its record at 10-10 with the victory dropping Sam Houston State to 8-14 overall and to 2-6 in league play.
Jeremie Mitchell, Patrick Richard and Dontae Cannon came up big for the Cowboys in the scoring column as Mitchell led the team with 16 points, Richard had 15 and Cannon 12.
Among the three they only missed one free throw attempt (Mitchell 2 for 2, Richard 6 for 6 and Cannon 4 for five) as the Cowboy's put forth their best shooting night at the line this season. They canned 15 of 17 attempts.
"This was a good team win for us," said Cowboy head coach Dave Simmons. "We only had seven players and every one of them stepped up. We hit our free throws late in the game. This was iron man basketball."
The Cowboys were playing without post players Rudy Turner, Craig McFerrin and Tyson Queen, all three out with injuries.
McNeese hit a blistering 61.5 percent of its field goals in the first half as the Cowboys ran off to a 41-30 lead at the intermission. Their shooting in the second half wasn't as accurate but they still finished with a 55.8 percentage, making 24 of 43.
They also hit 50 percent of their three point shots in that opening period (three for six).
In the rebound column, despite missing their three big players, McNeese stayed up with the Bearkats, 24-24. Richard led the way with seven caroms while Cannon had six.
Richard also dished out 11 assists in the game, only four shy of the school record.
Leading Sam Houston in scoring were Demarcus Gatlin and Marcus James with 16 points each.
McNeese returns to action Sunday when they will host Stephen F. Austin at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Tipoff is 2 p.m.