Cowboys Fall in CIT Opener

TOLEDO – McNeese State ran into a hot shooting Toledo team here Tuesday in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.Com post season basketball tournament and dropped a 76-63 decision.

The loss closes out the Cowboy season at 17-16 and lets Toledo continue on in the tournament with a 19-16 mark.  This is the fourth year of the tournament and the first appearance for the Cowboys in the event.

In what was the first meeting ever between the two schools, Toledo knocked down 61 percent of its shots from the floor, hitting a blistering 78 percent (14 of 18) in the second half.

"You're not going to win when you let someone shoot 70 percent against you," Cowboy head coach Dave Simmons said following the contest. "We just couldn't stop them.

"It wasn't one of our better efforts but we played hard.  It looked like we were sleep walking in the first half. They are a tough team in this building.

"They gave us the opportunity to take the lead late in the first half, we just didn't take advantage of it."

Toledo jump out front early with its hot shooting but a 14-2 run by McNeese in the last minutes of the first half enabled the Cowboys to go into the dressing room down by only two points, 36-34.

It was still a close game five minutes into the second half – Toledo leading 45-42 – but then the Rockets took control and with eight minutes left were up by 10 points (58-48).

They then outscored McNeese 18-15 the rest of the way.

For the game the Cowboys hit on 26 of 61 shots for a 43 percentage, made seven of 18 three points and canned four of the seven free shots they were allowed.  They were also gave the ball away on 13 turnovers.

Toledo hit on 27 of 44 field goals for the game (61.4 percentage), made eight of 17 three pointers and 14 of 18 free throws.

Adrian Fields came off the bench to play a season high 30 minutes and join Desharick Guidry as the Cowboys leading scorers with 11 points.  Patrick Richard, the team's and the Southland Conference's scoring leader, was held to 10 points, making only four of 17 field goal shots.

Also with 10 points was Jeremie Mitchell while Dontae Cannon, the other double figure scorer for McNeese, was held to eight points.

Richard led McNeese with eight rebounds and he also had a team high seven assists.

Both Rudy Turner and Daniel Richard, two who did not play in the Southland Conference championship game with Lamar, returned to the court in this game.  Turner played 17 mintues and scored six points and had a rebound and a blocked shot while Richard played eight minutes with two rebounds.

Toledo had the game's scoring leader in Curtis Dennis who totaled 18 points while Rian Pearson scored 17 and had a game high seven rebounds.  Julius Brown had a double, double by scoring 15 points and giving out 11 assists.