LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Malik Hines and Sha’Markus Kennedy, McNeese’s bigs, combined to score 34 points and grab 27 rebounds and McNeese posted an 18-4 run in the final 9:03 of the second half as the Cowboys down the University of Mobile 74-60 here Tuesday night, giving first-year head coach Heath Schroyer his first win as a Cowboy while also notching the first victory in the new H&HP Complex.
Hines, who stands 6-foot-10, recorded his second 20-point game of the season with 21 points while Kennedy (6-foot-8) dominated with 13 points, 15 rebounds in addition to seven assists, five blocked shots and three steals.
“We ran a lot of smash-mouth basketball tonight,” said Schroyer about the Cowboys' 54 points in the paint. “Those two (Hines and Kennedy) have a really good chemistry together. They really delivered.”
All of Kennedy’s seven assists came on the front end of a hi-low play that fed Hines, who knocked down 10 of 13 from the field and was 5 of 6 in the second half.
“Coach emphasized the ball inside,” said Hines. “We had a couple of hard practices this week and Coach really got on us. Today was the day to respond and deliver.”
Kennedy scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds in the second half.
“Sham can impact the game in a lot of ways,” said Schroyer.
Things started out slow for the Cowboys (1-3) as Mobile built a 26-16 lead with 8:23 to play in the first half.
Jarren Greenwood got a run started with a three-pointer at the 7:42 mark to pull the Cowboys within seven points, then a 16-5 run in the final 5:41 and 9-0 run in the last 2:20 of the first half was capped off by a James Harvey three-pointer at the buzzer to put McNeese on top 38-34.
The Cowboys carried the momentum into the second half when a Kennedy layup at the 14:11 mark put McNeese up 48-40 for its largest lead of the night.
But Mobile struck back with two of its eight 3s on the night to make it a 1-point game midway through the second half. A steal and breakaway dunk by Kennedy followed, then two minutes later, another Kennedy steal led to a thunderous dunk by Roydell Brown to put the Cowboys on top 63-58 with 5:48 to play.
McNeese closed out the final 4:58 on a 9-0 run to end the game.
“It’s always great to get the first win,” said Schroyer. “You have to surround yourself with the right people. I’m hard on the players but they also know I love them.”
Brown recorded his third double-double on the season with 12 points and 12 boards while Greenwood added 12 points with six assists and no turnovers.
“I thought he was awesome tonight,” said Schroyer of Greenwood. “He’s been through a lot lately. We’ve had several heart to hearts the last several days. I told him I wanted to see the Jarren Greenwood I knew when I got here. He came out and did exactly that.”
McNeese connected on 47.5 percent (29 of 61) from the field and was 15 of 29 for 51.7 percent in the second half.
The Cowboys held a 47-23 advantage in rebounds and outscored Mobile 43-19 in bench points.
Tony-Toni Wright led Mobile with 19 points on the night while Darvin Jones added 14.
McNeese will be back in action on Friday night when it hosts Mississippi College at 6:30.