McNeese splits Southland Conference openers

KPLC 7 News Nightcast - McNeese Basketball Recap PKG

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - After a winless start to the season, the Cowgirls started off the new year on a good note, with a 59-45 victory over Central Arkansas.

“I thought we did a tremendous job on both sides offensively and defensively” said head coach Kacie Cryer. “We held them to 15 in the first half and then on offense we were very patient took good shots and knocked down open ones we didn’t force very many.”

Sam Houston alum Kyla Hamilton led the way with 15 points and 8 steals on the day, which was just one steal shy of the McNeese single-game record. Another local, in Sulphur’s Claralee Richard, added another 13 points that helped propel the Cowgirls to victory.

“Just really proud of this group and there’s not a more deserving group to get their first win” Cryer added. We’ve been through a lot. I mean we have been through so much and grinding it out the kids never gave up, and to get this win they got it they did it themselves not a more deserving group, and I’m so proud of them and we just keep it going from right here I told them don’t lose this feeling. Lets keep it going and lets keep rolling through our conference.”

The Cowboys meanwhile would stumble after a hot start, falling 81-67 to the Bears. It marked the third straight game that the team’s leading rebounder KeShawn Feazell missed due to COVID-19.

“Not having KeyShawn really hurt us. I don’t think we did a good job of executing out of timeouts, deadballs that’s my fault” said head coach Heath Schroyer. “I always look in the mirror first and I got to do a better job at that.”

The Pokes shot poorly, hitting 32% from the field. They were just as bad on the glass with a 15-rebound disadvantage. Following an early 9-0 lead to open the game, McNeese’s execution, all over the court, began to decline.

“When we got to the free-throw line, we missed a couple of free throws” said Schroyer. “I think it was a stretch there too when we were, I think 1-4 from the free-throw line during that stretch, but I also thought we beat ourselves. I mean we turned the ball over way too much and had chances to score layups in the paint and we just didn’t do that.

As usual, Dru Kuxhausen was a three-point machine. The senior led McNeese in scoring with 22 points, making 6 of 11 from three-point range.

“One of the bright spots was Dru kinda finding a rhythm and was able to knock some shots down, but you know we just didn’t play very well” Schroyer added.

Both teams now take a week off as they prepare for another round of Southland games next Saturday at Burton against Northwestern State.

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