AUSTIN, Tx (KPLC) – Leondre Washington’s game-winning three-point attempt at the buzzer fell an inch off the mark as McNeese battled the Big 12 Conference’s Texas Longhorns toe-to-toe, falling 73-71 here Saturday afternoon.
Texas (6-1) broke a 71-71 tie on two free throws by Courtney Ramey with 8.4 seconds to play. After a UT timeout, McNeese put its game-winning play into motion that ended with Washington firing off the shot from the wing in front of the McNeese bench.
“It looked good from where I was,” said head coach Heath Schroyer whose Cowboys fell to 2-6 on the season and wrapping up a 6-game road trip to start the year. “It just rimmed out. But I’m proud of our guys for the way we played.”
Washington was one of four cowboys to score in double figures, ending with 17 points and a team-high four assists. Sha’markus Kennedy led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds to go along with two blocked shots while A.J. Lawson added 14 points and Dru Kuxhausen 12.
Ramey and Andrew Jones each scored 14 to lead Texas.
“You play Texas on the road and you have a chance to win it, a shot to win it, you can’t ask for more,” said Schroyer.
McNeese trailed 37-34 at the half and came out on a 6-0 run to start the second half to take a 40-37 lead.
The lead built to 48-44 after a Kuxhausen 3 with 14:55 to play but the Longhorns responded with seven straight points to go up 51-48 after a Jericho Sims dunk with 12:15 to play.
McNeese didn’t fold and came back with a Kennedy layup then another Kuxhausen trey to put the Cowboys back on top at 53-51 at the 11:15 mark.
Neither team led by more than three points until Texas grabbed a 68-64 lead with 2:50 to play on the tail end of a 6-0 run.
A Roydell Brown layup followed by a Washington three-pointer gave McNeese the lead back at 69-68 with 1:34 remaining.
Jones put Texas back on top at 71-69 on a three-pointer with 1:14 to play and a Kennedy layup tied things up at 71-71 with 56 seconds on the clock.
After a missed Longhorn shot with 40 seconds to play, the Cowboys had a chance to go up but Kuxhausen missed a shot jumper then fouled Ramey on the rebound to put him at the line with 8.4 seconds to play.
McNeese hit 26 of 50 for 52 percent for the game and was 8 of 16 for 50 percent from three-point range. Texas went 30 for 66 from the field for 46 percent and 9 of 31 from long range for 29 percent.
The Longhorns held a big advantage on the glass with a 38-24 mark.
Both teams started out sloppy with missed shots and turnovers but that soon turned to an exciting offensive game.
Neither team led by more than six points in the first 20 minutes, that coming from Texas in the first four minutes of the game and again at 21-15 with 8:40 to play in the half.
McNeese reeled off five straight points behind a Kennedy dunk and Washington fast-break three-pointer to pull the Cowboys to within 21-20 at the 8:09 mark.
The Longhorns then scored five straight of their own to go back up 28-22 at the 6:20 mark. Kennedy and Trey Johnson hit back-to-back buckets off a Texas missed shot and turnover to make it a two-point game.
Jase Febres hit a 3 for Texas with six seconds to play to put his team up 37-31 but Washington took the inbounds bass and put up a three-pointer just outside the arc that banked in at the buzzer to close the gap to 37-34 at the break.
McNeese will return home on Tuesday when it hosts Campbellsville-Harrodsburg at 6:30 in the H&HP Arena.