LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The McNeese Cowboys return to their home arena on Wednesday night when they look to get back on the winning track against Abilene Christian in the team’s Southland Conference home opener.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Fans will receive free rally towels and koozies courtesy of First Federal Bank of Louisiana who is the game’s sponsor.
McNeese (5-10, 1-1 SLC) is tied with ACU (12-3, 1-1) and eight other league teams in the conference standings following the first week of action. The Wildcats possess the best overall record in the conference and have produced some nice out of conference wins over Arkansas State, Denver and Pacific.
The Cowboys are coming off a league road split last week, beating UIW 88-77 before falling to Northwestern State 66-61.
“It was a tough loss at Northwestern but we did a lot of good things,” said head coach Heath Schroyer whose Cowboys are 4-2 in their brand new arena this year. “We out-shot and out-rebounded them. We just shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers and not able to capitalize on free throws.”
Wednesday’s game will feature the top two offenses in the league in terms of field goal shooting – ACU No. 1 at 49.1 percent and the Cowboys second at 47.8 percent.
“Abilene is one of the best teams in our league. Offensively, they’re very efficient. They shoot the three-ball well, and defensively they’re very sound.”
McNeese has four players scoring in double-figures on the season, led by James Harvey with a 12.9 average. Sha’Markus Kennedy follows with a 12.1 scoring average and Roydell Brown at 11.4 and Malik Hines (10.0) round out the top four scorers.
“This will be a tough game but one we’re looking forward to,” said Schroyer. “It’s our first conference home game so it’s a big game for us. But every game is big.”
The Wildcats lead the league in scoring defense (62.2 ppg) and rank first in three-point shooting by sinking 41.6 percent of their shots from long range.
ACU is led in scoring by senior forward Jaren Lewis’s 13.3 average while junior guard Payten Ricks is sinking 11.7 points per game.
McNeese holds a 5-3 lead in the all-time series but ACU has won the last three outings, including by a 79-74 score last year in Abilene.