LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - McNeese will have to wait until Saturday to know its fate for a spot in the Southland Conference postseason men’s basketball tournament when on Thursday night, Nicholls took control in the second half to defeat the Cowboys 80-67 and claim at least a share of the regular season league title.
McNeese (10-12, 4-9 SLC) can lock up a spot in next week’s tourney in Katy with a win over Lamar on Saturday or a loss by either Central Arkansas at Northwestern State or HBU against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
With the league going to a point system to determine tournament seeding and increasing the number of teams that qualify for the postseason from eight to 10, McNeese is currently in 10th place with 14 points while HBU is right behind with 13 and UCA with 12. A win equals three points.
In Thursday’s game, the Cowboys held a 37-34 lead over the Colonels (17-6, 14-2 SLC) at the half behind one of their better three-point shooting in a first half this season after hitting 7 of 13.
The Colonels came alive in the second half, knocking down 55 percent of their shots while holding the Cowboys to 32 percent for the stanza.
“Give Nicholls a lot of credit, they’re a very good team,” said head coach Heath Schroyer. “They played good defense and made some big shots when they needed to.”
Carlos Rosario led four Cowboy players who scored in double-digits with 15 points. Harwin Francois tied a career-high with 14 points while Dru Kuxhausen added 13 and KeyShawn Feazell with 11.
McNeese hit 10 of 23 from long range for the game, nearly half of the total field goals overall it connected on (22 of 56).
Kevin Johnson led the Colonels with 19 points while Ty Gordon added 17.
The first seven minutes of the second half saw the teams battle back and forth as there were six lead changes and a tie during that span.
Nicholls took the lead for good at the 13:16 mark when Johnson hit a three-pointer to put his team up 48-46. That ignited a 17-5 run over the next six minutes as the Colonels opened up a 62-51 lead.
McNeese was not able to get it back into single digits the rest of the game as the Colonels.
The Cowboys will close out the regular season on Saturday at 4 against Lamar in Burton Coliseum. McNeese will recognize its seniors during a pregame ceremony.