Cowboys defense key in 80-42 win over Mississippi College

Cowboys defense key in 80-42 win over Mississippi College

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - LAKE CHARLES – McNeese rolled off a 29-7 run in the final 14:38 of the first half, a stretch that saw the Cowboys score 14 straight and 10 straight in two separate occasions, en route to an 80-42 blowout win over Mississippi College here Friday night to cap off a three-game home stand.

The win was the second straight for the Cowboys as they improve to 2-3 on the season and will next venture out on a three-game, week-long road trip beginning next Thursday at SMU.

“Outside of the first six minutes, we played really well,” said head coach Heath Schroyer. “We’re starting to develop our identity. Defense and rebounding is key to our success and we’ve been able to do that the last two games.”

McNeese held a 44-26 advantage on the glass and held the Choctaws to 30 percent shooting for the game, including 28 percent in the first half.

The Cowboys had four players reach double-digits on the night, led by James Harvey and Will Robinson each with 14. Jarren Greenwood added 12 and Kevin Hunt with 10. Harvey scored all 14 of his points in the second half, hitting four three-point goals in the process.

“The guys are playing well,” said Schroyer. “We’re getting more confident in what we do. We’ve gotten better over the last 10 days.”

The Cowboys used a smothering defense that forced Mississippi College into 17 turnovers while holding the visitors to just six offensive rebounds and four second-chance points. More importantly, the defense recorded 10 “kills” on the night.

“A kill is three stops in a row,” said Schroyer. “Our goal each game is seven. Against Loyola, we didn’t have one. We had nine against Mobile (a 74-60 win) and tonight we had 10.”

McNeese connected on 52 percent (27 of 52) for the game and was 13 of 24 for 54 percent in the second half. The Cowboys ended the game hitting 6 of their last 7 shots and on a 16-5 run.

“We’re getting confident in our rotation and lineup,” said Schroyer. “I’m excited about the growth we’ve made the last 10 days.”

McNeese scored the game’s first five points and the game would be tied three times, the last at 11-11 with 12:51 to play in the half when the Cowboys used a smothering defense and capitalized by scoring on six of its next nine possessions to put together a 14-0 run and hold a 25-11 lead with 6:56 to play.

MC scored four straight to cut the gap to 10 points but McNeese went on its second double-digit run of the half at 10-0, ignited by a nice pass by Sha’Markus Kennedy and slam by Malik Hines then an open three-pointer by Trey Johnson.

Robinson hit a jumper inside the high post at the buzzer to give McNeese a 37-16 halftime lead.

The Cowboys allowed just one offensive rebound in the half and scored 26 of their 37 points in the paint.

Mississippi College was led in scoring by Brandon Boston’s 13 points.

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