HAMMOND - The McNeese men's basketball team had all the right moves on Saturday, taking home a much-deserved road win against the conference leading Southeastern Lions 71-62 in Hammond. The Cowboys tamed the Lions, holding them to only 26% from the field in the win.
"We came to play. We found the balance, and got a much-needed win. We shot the ball well again from the three-point line, 9-19, and for them to get only 16 baskets in 61 shots is huge" head coach Dave Simmonssaid.
The Cowboys started Saturday's contest like any other, as they dominated the glass and the court- outrebounding the Lions 21-18 and shooting 50% from the field compared to Southeastern's measly 27%.
With 10:46 on the clock in the first half, SLU's Marlain Veal would sink a jumper- starting a five-minute drought in which neither team was able to score a fieldgoal.
Headed into the match, Veal was a definite scoring risk for McNeese- as he led his Lions in multiple scoring categories.
"Our guards did a great job keeping Veal in line tonight, the Ledoux brothers', Greenwood, and Harvey all did a good job on the defensive side of the ball tonight" Simmons said.
The Cowboy guards kept SLU from scoring long-range, as the Lions finished with only five baskets from beyond the arc in 22 attempts, withholding the title of one of the top three-point defenses in the league.
Jacob Ledoux would end the drought with a layup at the 5:45 mark. The Ledoux brothers would finish the first half with a combined 18 points.
Foul trouble struck the Cowboys in the final minutes before heading in the locker room, starting at the 12:05 mark, the next nine fouls would be called on McNeese. The foul calls resulting in six charity stripe points by the Lions.
"Stephen, even though he fouled out, made a great block and made some great rebounds. He tends to rush a bit offensively and that can get him in foul trouble pretty early on," Simmons talked about how the Cowboys just could not keep the Lions off the free-throw line tonight.
Southeastern would finish the game outscoring McNeese 25-10 from the free-throw line.
Returning back to the court, it would not take long before Veal would find his way to the Southeastern bench after earning his fourth foul with 15 minutes remaining in the game.
With a major scoring threat off the court, the Cowboys took advantage of the open field. Driving the basket possession after possession, McNeese racked up its biggest lead of the night.
Ahead by 14 points with less than 12 minutes to play, McNeese had all the momentum it needed to cage the Lions once and for all.
SLU's Jordan Capps consistently fought against the Cowboy defense, going one-on-one with forward Quatarrius Wilson. The two battled on the glass all night, with Capps stealing some rebounds from the Cowboys more than once.
McNeese held on to its lead late into the game, but a long three by the Lions and a turnover by the Cowboys gave Southeastern a chance to regain control of the game.
Greenwood was able to get a steal for his stat book and draw the foul on his lay-up. Greenwood earned the and-one, giving the Cowboys a steady 10-point lead with five minutes on the clock.
"Tremendous team effort tonight. Jarren was out versus Nicholls, came back with a force tonight. He got a really good steal at the end of the night and was able to drive it in for the basket" Simmons said.
Ugochukwu would earn his fifth and final foul with four minutes left, as the senior forward went up for a rebound on a missed three by Southeastern.
A Cowboy turnover and a flagrant foul on Jacob Ledoux would send Lion Eddy Polanco to the line. In addition to the basket, Polanco would make one of two from the line, pulling Southeastern within six of McNeese's lead.
Leading 68-57 headed into the two-minute warning, McNeese was able to take advantage of Southerneastern's forced fouls, adding three more free-throw points to seal the deal.
Cowboys shut-down the then, undefeated Southeastern Lions 71-62 in Hammond. The win breaks a three-game losing streak for McNeese, and a 12-game losing streak on the road that dates back to February 2017.
Kalob Ledoux was one of three with double-digits on the stat sheet night, teammate Greenwood finished with 15 and Wilson with 10 of his own.
In addition to Wilson's 10 points, the junior transfer also pulled down 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and his eighth game with 10 or more rebounds.
McNeese will be back in action on Wednesday at Houston Baptist, then at Lamar to close out the four-game road series.
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