Zach Scott’s game-winning 3 lifts Cowboys to 78-75 win over HBU in Legacy Center reopening
LAKE CHARLES - McNeese Mayhem appeared in the form of a last-second three-point shot off the hands of Zach Scott on Saturday as the Cowboys defeated HBU 78-75 on the same day of the ribbon-cutting ceremony and reopening of the Legacy Center.
Scott, who scored a career-high 24 points behind a career-tying five three-point baskets, took a pass from Kellon Taylor and drained the game-winner with .4 seconds left on the clock.
The shot sent a crowd of 2,405 into a frenzy as the Cowboys won its Southland Conference opener for the first time in three seasons while winning their second straight game to improve to 7-11 on the year.
“They got their bucket (HBU to tie the game) and I looked at the clock and there was about 10 seconds left and I knew we were going to win it,” said Scott. “I didn’t know who was going to take the shot but knew whoever did, was going to make it.”
HBU (4-10, 0-1) rallied from a 68-60 deficit with just over five minutes to play after the Cowboys mounted a 12-2 run in the two minutes prior to retaking the lead after the Huskies captured it for the first time in the game. Darius Lee, who led HBU with 18 points, hit a jumper in the paint with just over nine seconds to play to tie the game at 75-75.
Head coach John Aiken decided to continue play instead of calling a timeout to set up the final play.
“I didn’t call a timeout and just let them kind of flow. I trusted them,” he said. “KT (Taylor) made a great play and as soon as it got into Zach’s hands, there was no doubt in my mind he was going to make the shot.”
Asked if there was any doubt the ball was going in, Scott quietly replied, “not at all.”
While Scott was knocking down his bombs, Collin Warren used his athleticism to create havoc in the lane while hitting three 3s himself on his way to a career-high 21-point game.
“I left here (Legacy Center) last night around 9:30 and Collin was in here working on his rebounding and shooting. I called Coach Saddler and told him Collin was going to have a big game, and he did.”
Taylor added 12 points and a game-high five assists for the Cowboys while Myles Lewis contributed with 13 points and a high of seven rebounds.
The Cowboys connected on 26 of 48 from the field (54 percent), 8 of 17 from long range (47 percent) and 18 of 23 at the free-throw line (78 percent).
Scott hit the first three treys he attempted and finished 5 for 7 from long range and 9 of 13 overall.
“I’ve been saying this for a while,” said Aiken, “Zach Scott is a really good player. I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg with him
Being back in the Legacy Center after nearly 700 days since playing their last game, the Cowboys fed of the energy and atmosphere.
“The crowd was amazing,” said Warren. “It started during our warmups and continued all the way to the end of the game. It was crazy.”
“I just want to appreciate everybody for coming out and supporting us,” said Taylor. “I hope every game is like that. In fact, I hope we get more people and more support. This city, school, team and Coach Aiken deserves it.”
McNeese scored the first nine points in the game before the Huskies got on the board with three free throws from Brycen Long, who finished with 15 points. The Cowboys built the lead back to 7-8 points several times in the half but was never to pull away and led 39-37 at the break.
The Cowboys never led by more than four points in the first 10 minutes of the second half but never relinquished the lead either until the Huskies went up 56-54 off a Christian Courseault basket with 9:26 remaining. Then with 7:57 to play and trailing 58-56, the Cowboys put together a run behind back-to-back 3-pointers from Scott and Warren to put the Cowboys up 62-58. Warren extended the run to 6-0 following a steal and break-away one-handed slam on the next possession.
Lewis put the Cowboys up 68-60 with 5:21 to play before HBU chipped away at the deficit and tied it off of Lee’s layup with nine seconds remaining and setting up Scott’s game-winner.
HBU shot 57 percent for the game (27-47), 27 percent from 3-point range (4-15) and hit 17 of 24 for 71 percent at the free throw line.
The Cowboys will hit the road next week for visits to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday followed by a Saturday tilt at UIW.
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