McNeese basketball begins first SLC road trip of season

McNeese Basketball Travels

The following is a news release from McNeese Sports Information Director Matthew Bonnette:

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- McNeese State took advantage of its brief time at home last week following a nine-game road excursion and notched wins over Southeastern Louisiana and New Orleans to open Southland Conference play.

Now the Cowboys (4-10, 2-0), one of four unbeaten teams in league play, will hit the road for the first time in conference play when they visit Sam Houston State at 7:45 on Thursday.

The game will follow a women's game between the two schools and will be carried live on the McNeese Sports Network (1290- and 1470-AM and  They'll close out the week Saturday at Lamar before returning home on Jan. 16 to begin a five-game home stand.

The Cowboys are 2-0 to start league play for the second time in three seasons and first time since the 2011 conference championship season.  A win on Thursday will give the team its first 3-0 start since the 2005-06 season.

Sam Houston State (9-5, 1-1) dropped a 73-56 decision at Stephen F. Austin in its last outing, two days after upsetting league favorite Northwestern State on the road in overtime.  The Bearkats a 3-0 at home this season with their only Division-I home win coming against LIU-Brooklyn.

Leading the Cowboys into Thursday's game will be a trio of players averaging double-figures in scoring, including reigning conference player of the week Kevin Hardy.  Hardy is second on the team in scoring with 12.4 points per game but is averaging 20 points a game in league games only, fifth best in the league.

Ledrick Eackles leads the team at 14.8 ppg and is knocking in 18.5 in SLC games and Desharick Guidry is sinking 10 points a game.

The Cowboys lead the league and rank 22nd in the nation in free throw shooting with a 75.1 percentage.

SHSU is lead in scoring by Jabari Peters with 13.4 ppg and Kaheem Ranson at 11.5 a game.

Thursday's game will be the 65th meeting in the all-time series with McNeese holding a 37-27 lead.  The two teams split the series last season with each team winning on its opponent's floor.  The Cowboys posted a 59-58 overtime win last season in Huntsville.