LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - McNeese would trail 56-32 at the half, but outscore Stephen F Austin 63-43 in the second half for a comeback that would fall only four-points short in a 99-95 loss on Thursday. The Cowboys fall to 8-13 on the season and 5-6 in Southland Conference play.
Head coach Dave Simmons is confident in the team's effort, "I'm proud of our guys tonight, we picked up our energy. A game like this, and an effort like this- pays dividends in the long run."
Junior James Harvey finished the night with a season and game high 23-points. Harvey was followed by junior Jarren Greenwood who almost matched Harvey with 21-points of his own.
Greenwood and Harvey were key in the comeback attempt, with Harvey hitting four of his seven threes in the second half and Greenwood adding two to the book as well.
Quatarrius Wilson had another solid performance in the blue and yellow, with 14 rebounds and 14 points, Wilson notched another double-double on the stat sheet- his eighth double-double of the season.
The first half was a firing show for the Jacks, letting off 13 shots from long range, draining 11 of them. Stephen F Austin shot 85% from the arc in the first half and 57% from the field.
"We missed some free-throws early, and when everyone is running hot like that- you go under" Simmons said.
Simmons is referring to the five missed free-throws in the first half, but overall, both teams shot efficiently tonight. In fact, both teams finished the contest shooting approximately 53% from the field.
In the second half, the Cowboys came alive- outshooting the Jacks 36 to 29 and pulling down 22 rebounds to SFA's 14.
McNeese went on four runs of six or more points in the second half, helping them cut away at Stephen F Austin's hefty 26-point lead from the first half.
Not a single opponent has scored 100 points on the Cowboys this season, and the Jacks had their chance tonight. If not for seven missed free-throws in the final 27 seconds, they just may have done it.
"We didn't quit, we regrouped at the half and made goals- where we wanted to be at the 15 minute mark, the 10 minute mark and so on, we kept pushing on, the clock just ran out on us tonight" Simmons said.
In that span, McNeese put in a lay-up, a dunk, and a trey on three possessions to cut SFA's lead to only four, but the clock would run out on the Cowboys tonight.
The Cowboys were hurt by their 22 turnovers, the most they've committed all season, thankfully, the Jacks were only able to score 15 off the miscues.
Because of the second-half turn around, McNeese was able to outrebound the Jack 36 to 34, tonight would make the fifth time this season that the Cowboys outrebounded an opponent in a loss.
Simmons and his squad have a short break before hosting Southeastern on Saturday at 3:30.