Robinson’s career-high 31 lifts UNO past McNeese in OT
Defending champs defeat McNeese 82-75 in overtime as head coach Mark Slessinger moves into a tie for third place on the all-time wins list
LAKE CHARLES, La. – Bryson Robinson went 10-of-13 and 7-of-8 from three-point range to finish with 31 points, eight rebounds and four assists as the University of New Orleans (7-8, 4-0 Southland) remained undefeated in conference action, defeating McNeese State University (5-9, 2-2 Southland), 82-75, in overtime Saturday afternoon at Burton Coliseum.
Robinson’s seven threes were the most since Christavious Gill drained eight versus Northwestern State University March 5, 2016 and the 31 points tied Erik Thomas’ mark in last season’s opening victory versus LaGrange College (Nov. 11).
Travin Thibodeaux added 14 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks and Michael Zeno came off the bench with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and five rebounds.
It was a change of events in the second half as the defending conference champions erased an eight-point deficit.
The unselfishness continued as the Privateers posted three assists on their first five field goals to take a 12-7 lead into the under-12 media. Zeno’s slam off the no-look from Troy Green forced the McNeese timeout.
On the other side of the break, the Cowboys hit a triple but Scott Plaisance’s second chance bucket on Ezekiel Charles’ dime and Lamont Berzat’s steal/layup put the UNO lead at six.
McNeese went on a 15-2 to regain the lead, 25-18, with 7:25 remaining with Robinson putting an end to the run on his first points of the game (three).
At the half, the Privateers trailed 36-28. Robinson led all players with nine points, all from long distance. The three triples tied his career-high (at SMU earlier this season).
Much like the first half, the extra pass led to an open bucket as Thibodeaux found Makur Puou down low, Robinson hit Diontae Champion for an easy layup and BRob connected on his career-high fourth triple of the afternoon to cut the Privateer deficit to three.
Robinson continued to be the hot hand with three early triples, Thibodeaux scored nine points, seven in consecutive order, and Zeno was a highlight reel with three dunks as New Orleans took its largest lead of the game, 58-51, with 9:40 left to play. The 11-0 run also featured the dominant defense we saw in the first half of the Lamar University win Wednesday as McNeese went 0-of-6 and was held scoreless for over five minutes.
Up 60-53 with 6:46 left to play behind strong offensive performances by Thibodeaux (nine points in frame), Robinson (nine) and Zeno (six) and the passing from Charles (six assists and seven rebounds), while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor as a team to this point.
Leading by two following Jarren Greenwood’s jumper at the 3:29 mark, Zeno tied his season-high with a jumper as the senior registered 12 points and extended the UNO lead to two possessions.
McNeese tied the game with back-to-back buckets with 90 seconds remaining in regulation but with 57.2 ticks left, Robinson reached 20 points for the first time on the and-one as New Orleans regained the lead, 67-65.
Robinson and James Harvey traded buckets and the Privateers and Cowboys needed additional time to settle this one as UNO went into its first overtime of the season and first since the Southland Conference Championship at Katy.
The Cowboys struck first in OT and after hitting the first of two from the line (Puou), McNeese extended its lead to three with 4:20 to go.
Why not go to BRob? The Privateers created space and Robinson connected on his seventh three-pointer with 3:56 to go to tie the game at 73.
At the 2:50 mark, Greenwood went to the line and drained both. On the other end and the shot clock winding down, an off-balanced jumper by Robinson hit nothing but net to knot it up again, this time at 75 with 2:16 remaining.
The hottest hand in the game went to the line twice down the stretch and drained all four FTs and Charles followed with two more to put UNO in front 81-75 with 39 ticks to go.
For good measure, Thibodeaux hit the first of two for a seven-point lead and that was the final as UNO improved to 4-0 in Southland play with an 82-75 victory.
The Privateers head to preseason favorite Stephen F. Austin for an ESPN3 battle in Nacogdoches Jan. 10.
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