Sophomore Kalob Ledoux led the Cowboys with his fourth 20-point performance of the season on Saturday, as the Cowboys fell to Lamar 86-80.
Head coach Dave Simmons is now 11-8 all time against the Cardinals, "It was a hard- fought game, and we knew coming in it would be a battle. Two school, sixty miles apart, and the guys played hard and played a full forty minutes tonight," Simmons said.
Transfer junior Quatarrius Wilson followed with 19 points and eight rebounds, while junior guard Jarren Greenwood posted 13 points of his own.
The Cowboys started out hot, running out to a 7-1 lead. The McNeese Lamar did not make its first field goal until the 16:55 mark.
Three of Wilson's rebounds came on the offensive glass, with four 2nd chance points in the first five minutes.
Senior Stephen Ugochukwu began to get back to his roots today, showing more aggression, driving the basket, putting himself in prime position to drop it in for the Cowboys.
James Harvey showed his ball handling skills today, whether he was draining treys, or weaving through Cardinal defenders to snag another bucket.
At 12:11, McNeese would build a hefty 17-point lead after going on a ten-point run and pulling ahead 28-11 thanks to Ledoux who sank eight of those points himself.
Cardinals started its first run of the night with 7:59 on the clock. Led by Colton Weisbrod, Lamar posted six straight points to cut the Cowboys lead to seven.
Kalob Ledoux gets the technical call with 3:45 left in the first half and with two more free-throws on the board, the Cardinals cut the Cowboys lead to five.
Another run by the Cardinals was sparked at the 4:26 mark, in which Lamar was able to outscore McNeese 15-2, eventually leading to its first lead of the game.
Cowboys trailed for the first time, down 38-31 with 2:24 left in the first half.
Wilson was able to hit a jumper and two free-throws during the final minutes, but Lamar was able to hold on to a 44-43 lead after one half of play.
In the first half alone, the Cardinals would benefit from fouls called on the Cowboys with 14 points from the charity stripe.
At halftime, McNeese was shooting an impressive 57% from the arc, hitting four of its seven attempts. Other than the Cowboys' long-range advantage, both teams managed to shoot 48% from the field. Both teams were also shooting 87.5% from the free-throw line, despite McNeese only having eight attempts to Lamar's 16.
McNeese outscored Lamar 30-13 in the first ten minutes of the game, before the Cardinals would light its fire and go to outscore the Cowboys 30-14 in the final ten minutes of the first half.
"We came out early and took a lot of shots, and I think we began to force some of those shots when they started pulling closer to our lead. In the second half we narrowed our shot choices and did a lot better, and I'm happy with that" Simmons said.
Lamar would open up the second half with seven unanswered points, giving the Cardinals a 51-43 lead over the Cowboys.
Ledoux adds a lay-up and soon after Wilson does the same. Chaos would then ensue on the court when Wilson draws the foul and celebrates the call. A technical is called on Wilson for the celebration and the Cardinals go back to the line.
McNeese trailed 58-47 with 16 minutes on the clock.
LaBarrius Hill with a quick jumper brings the Cowboys within nine of Lamar, just before a timeout is called- giving McNeese the opportunity to regroup and draw up its plan of attack.
Greenwood knocked down back-to-back treys at the 12:25 mark, bringing the Cardinals lead to only six. Ledoux follows in suit with another huge three; McNeese trails 65-62 with 10:59 to play.
The Cowboys added two more for five straight three-pointers, and after the final by Jacob Ledoux, McNeese would only trail 69-68.
Back and forth for both teams, Ugochukwu is able to help the Cowboys regain the lead with two more free-throws. Cowboys held a 74-73 lead with 7:17 left to play.
3:51 left in regulation and teams would meet at 78.
A steal by Nzeakor would give Lamar the chance to regain the lead, Cardinal Torey Noel is fouled beyond the arc and he gets two out of three for a two-point lead.
Another jumper by Lamar gives them an 82-78 lead with one minute to play. The Cardinals would burn the rest of the clock as the Cowboys would be forced to foul for possession.
Lamar added eight free-throws to the board in the final four minutes on a 10-2 run, as McNeese fell to the Cardinals on the road 86-80.
McNeese finished 13-15 at the line (87%), while Lamar was able to earn 30 out of 39 attempts (77%).
The series continues to weigh in favor of the Cardinals, 55-47 after today's 102nd meeting.
McNeese drops to 4-4 in Southland Conference play and 7-11 overall, the Cowboys host Sam Houston State on Tuesday at the Lake Charles Civic Center.
Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.