(LAKE CHARLES) KPLC- Patrick Richard tossed in 27 points in leading McNeese State to a 74-61 non-conference victory over Southeast Missouri State here Saturday afternoon in a Sears Bracketbuster contest.
The Cowboys also increased their winning streak to eight games and ran their record to 15-10. Southeast Missouri, out of the Ohio Valley Conference, dropped to 14-13.
Richard, the Cowboy senior forward, had one of his better games of the season as he made eight of 14 field goals including a three for three effort from three point range and he also connected on eight of 10 free throws.
The Cowboy, who leads the Southland Conference in scoring, was one point shy of his season high (28 points against Northwestern State) while he also pulled five rebounds, had three assists and one steal.
Freshman Desharick Guidry joined him in double figures with 10 points. Leading the Redhawks in scoring were Nick Niemczyk with 18 points and Tyler Stone with 10.
The game was close throughout until the final minutes of play. McNeese held a 36-35 halftime lead after a last minute jump shot by Richard.
The Cowboys had overcome an early eight point Redhawk lead in the first half.
In the second half the score changed hands eight times until the Cowboys took the lead for good at 59-56 with 7:49 left in the contest. However, Southeast Missouri would not go away and it wasn't until McNeese scored the game's final 10 points that the Cowboys walked off with gtheir 13 point victory.
"This was a good win for us against a quality opponent," Cowboy head coach Dave Simmons said. "It kept our winning streak alive heading into one of our most important games of the season. It it showed that we are beginning to be more comfortable playing together."
Guidry was only one rebound away from a double double in the game as he led the Cowboys with nine caroms. Point guard Dontae Cannon scored eight points and had seven rebounds while his backup – freshman Kevin Hardy – had eight points and five rebounds.
Rudy Turner, the team's leading rebounder on the season, scored nine points and pulled six rebounds while also b locking a game high six shots.
Cannon led the Cowboys in assists with five. McNeese had a hot second half shooting – making 55.6 percent of its shots (15 of 27) – and finished with a 51.9 percentage. The Cowboys also connected on 57.1 percent of their three point shots (four of seven) and were 16 of 23 at the line.
Southeast Missouri made 36.9 percent of its shots (24 of 65), 35.3 of its three point shots (6 of 17) and only 53.8 percent of its free throws (7 of 13).
The Cowboys held a 39-35 rebound edge. It was the first meeting between McNeese and the Redhawks.
McNeese will be back in action Wednesday, the Cowboys host Southland Conference leader UT Arlington.