SAN ANTONIO (McNeese Athletics) - UIW scored the game’s first 12 points then held off a second half McNeese rally to cruise to an 83-61 Southland Conference win here Wednesday night.
The Cardinals’ Keaston Willis, the league’s top scorer at just under 20 points per game, finished with 28 on the night while as a team, UIW (5-5, 2-1 SLC) sank 16 three-point field goals, one less than the amount McNeese attempted.
McNeese (6-6, 0-3) was led in scoring by Carlos Rosario’s 19 points after he knocked down 8 of 9 from the field. KeyShawn Feazell added 17 points, 13 of those coming in the second half.
The Cowboys shot 48 percent from the field (23-48) for the game but it was UIW’s hot aim from long range that kept the Cardinals at a distance as they connected on 16 of 27 for 59 percent from behind the arc.
UIW opened up the game hitting four straight 3s to grab a 12-0 lead in the first four minutes before a Feazell jumper got the Cowboys on the board at the 15:51 mark.
The Cardinals’ lead grew to 20-4 with just over 10 minutes to play in the half when the Cowboys’ Harwin Francois, who made his McNeese debut with eight points on the night, knocked down a 3 to cut the margin to 20-7. But UIW answered with a three by Willis, then after McNeese scored four straight points, Logan Bracamonte snapped the mini-run with another Cardinal trey and UIW took a 39-27 lead into the half.
McNeese scored the first four points of the second half and following Francois’ second trey of the game, trimmed the UIW lead to 51-44 with 13:35 to play in the second half.
Offensively, the Cowboys did what was needed early in the second to get back into the game by scoring on five straight possessions. However, UIW answered every one with scores of its own and after McNeese cut the lead to seven, UIW’s GG Ezedinma and Willis sank back-to-back threes to ignite a 10-0 run and to cushion the lead.
McNeese went 5 of 17 for 29 percent from 3-point range and knocked down 10 of 13 at the free throw line for 77 percent. UIW held a 26-21 advantage in rebounding.
The Cowboys return to action on Saturday when they visit New Orleans at 6 p.m.