LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Dru Kuxhausen scored 20 points and A.J. Lawson added 19 to help lead McNeese to a crucial, 85-58 Southland Conference men’s basketball win against HBU and while making a push for a spot in the postseason league tournament.
The Cowboys (10-11, 4-8 SLC) entered the game in sole possession of eighth place with 11 points, one point better than HBU (4-16, 3-9) in the conference standings. Saturday night’s win put the Cowboys one step closer to the March 13-16 tournament which will be held in Katy, Texas.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said head coach Heath Schroyer. “This was a real big win for us. We continue to play better every game.”
The win was the second straight and third in the last four games and are three points away from riding a four-game winning streak.
Lawson was unstoppable in the first half as he scored 15 of his 19 points. But the senior exited the game with just under two minutes to play in the half with a dislocated finger. With Lawson out, Myles Hutchinson was called on to help take over the point guard position and scored seven points in 11 minutes of action.
“This was a great team win,” said Schroyer. “When AJ went out, Myles stepped in and did a great job for us.”
Lawson returned in the second half with fingers taped and proceeded to play 10 more minutes adding five assists to his points total.
Carlos Rosario added 11 points and Chris Orlina scored 10 to round out McNeese’s double-digit scorers.
McNeese led 40-24 at the half and trailed only in the first minute and a half of the game.
After trailing 5-4, the Cowboys rolled off a 17-0 run over a nine-minute span. During the run, Kuxhausen sank two of his five 3-pointers in the game, one from near mid-court, and added three more points on free throws after being fouled on a long range shot.
HBU came out strong in the second half, hitting two three-pointers to close the gap to 42-30, but Hutchinson knocked down a big 3 to stop the run, then after the Huskies pulled to within 45-34 with 15:29 remaining, Kuxhausen knocked down another trey that ignited a 9-0 run as the Cowboys built a 54-34 lead with 12:12 remaining.
The Cowboys took their largest lead following a Braelon Bush three-pointer with 22 seconds to play to make it an 83-56 game.
McNeese connected on 55 percent from the floor, hitting 32 of 58 shots, and connected on 18 of 30 in the second half for 60 percent. Included in those numbers was 10 of 25 shooting from long range for 40 percent.
HBU made just 33 percent for the game (20 of 61) and was just 9 for 32 from 3-point range for 28 percent.
Pedro Castro led HBU with 17 points while Hunter Janacek added 15.
McNeese will return to action on Thursday when it hosts Nicholls at 6:30 and will close out regular season play next Saturday versus Lamar at 4 in Burton Coliseum.