McNeese Cowboys’ season ends with Semi-Final loss to Corpus Christi

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 12:16 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Entering Tuesday night’s semi-final game against Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, the McNeese Cowboys had already made history as they were the first team in the history of the Southland Conference Tournament to make the semi-finals as the eighth seed. However, if they wanted to be the first Southland team to make the Conference Tournament championship game as the eight-seed, they were going to have the tall task of taking down the Islanders; something they failed to do in either of their two regular-season matchups.

McNeese fell to Corpus Christi twice in the regular season by a combined 34 points, and unfortunately for McNeese, Tuesday night’s semi-final matchup wasn’t much better. Despite Christian Shumate’s heroics as he went for an impressive 30 points and 15 rebounds, the Cowboys struggled to get anything going and fell to the Islanders 80-63, and with it, their season came to an end.

“You know I thought Corpus came out like a team that had a couple of days off to prepare for us, came out really energized, they just wore us down, you know I think eventually, our numbers, or lack thereof, with the games back-to-back-to-back, just caught up with us,” said Cowboys head coach John Aiken following the loss. “We were the physically dominating team for the first two nights, and give them all the credit, they came out and physically dominated us, I told our guys before the game, the most physical team is going to win, and tonight that was Corpus.”

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi head coach Steve Lutz gave credit to McNeese following the game saying they weren’t an easy team to beat, and they were the first eight-seed to make the Southland semi-finals for a reason, but ultimately their fast pace of play wore down McNeese who was playing their third game in as many days, in addition to the fact that McNeese was already down to seven players due to injuries, and other issues.

McNeese Top-Performers:

  • Christian Shumate: 30 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, 1 block
  • Johnathan Massie: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi Top-Performers:

  • De’Lazarus Keys: 18 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
  • Terrion Murdix: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals

Shumate’s incredible performance of 30 points and 15 rebounds was the cherry on top of the sundae that was his stretch of impressive games during the Southland Conference Tournament. Shumate broke the Southland Conference Tournament rebounding record with 41 rebounds, breaking the 33-year-old tournament record of 35 rebounds set by North Texas’ Ronnie Morgan back in 1990.

With the loss, McNeese now enters the off-season and looks forward to hopefully improving upon their semi-final finish, in 2023-24, while Texas A&M - Corpus Christi advances to the championship game where they will take on second-seeded Northwestern State on Wednesday at 4:00 at the Legacy Center.