McNeese closes out non-conference play with 91-76 win over Champion Christian
LAKE CHARLES – A.J. Lawson scored 24 points while Carlos Rosario added 19, Collin Warren 15 and Dru Kuxhausen 11 as the McNeese Cowboys closed out pre-conference action on Wednesday night with a 91-76 win over Champion Christian.
The win improved the Cowboys’ record to 6-3 overall and 6-0 at home in Burton Coliseum. McNeese will open up Southland Conference play on Saturday against Central Arkansas in Burton Coliseum at 4 p.m. and will follow a 1 o’clock contest between the two women’s teams.
McNeese connected on 54 percent from the field for the night, hitting 37 of 68 shots, but rallied for that high number after knocking down 63 percent in the second half following a 47 percent first half showing.
The Tigers posted its best shooting night in nine games on the season, hitting 56 percent which allowed them to keep the game respectable even when the Cowboys were positioning to run away with the game like they did on Tuesday night in a 94-36 win.
McNeese led 44-29 at the half and led by as many as 23 points following a Warren jumper with just under eight minutes to play in the game. The lead grew to 23 again after a couple of Lawson free throws with 5:47 to make it an 81-58 score but Champion Christian connected on three 3-pointers on its next three possessions to cut the gap to 83-67.
Braylon Hawkins led the Tigers with 24 points.
Quoting Head Coach Heath Schroyer
On Wednesday night’s game:
“We didn’t play particularly well. Disappointed in a lot of areas especially defensively. But the preseason is over and now we move on to league (play). It’s always hard when you beat a team by 60 points and then come back and play them again. I think we got better as the preseason went along but we have to get ready for league and a very good UCA team that’s coming in here. They beat us twice last year, so they kind of have our number.”
His assessment of the team heading into conference:
“I think we have a chance to be pretty good. There are a lot of things we have to get better at. I think not having a preseason, we’re not as connected as a group as we need to be. We need KeyShawn (Feazell) back, not only from a basketball standpoint but from a locker room and maturity. He’s a real connector on the floor. I like our group. I think we have a chance to be good. I’ve said it all along, we’re going to go through some growing pains as the year goes along but I think by the end, we have a chance to be pretty good.”
On redshirt freshman Collin Warren who got his second start of the season:
“I think Collin is having a great freshman year. He’s grow a lot and starting to take coaching. I’m really excited about the future with him. I think he’s got a tremendous upside as he continues to get better and learn the game. He’s got a chance to have a great career.”
On having multiple players that can score in double figures:
“I think it’s good. That’s the strength of our team, having multiple guys having a chance to step up and make plays and score the ball each night. We’re at a point in the program where we have multiple options and have guys that can come off the bench and really help us. Especially this year with COVID, you don’t know who will be active on your team from one week to another so you better have some quality players on your bench and I think we do.”
• A.J. Lawson’s 24 points are the most this season and his second 20-point game of the year.
• Carlos Rosario’s 19 points is the most this season by the first-year Cowboy.
• Three made 3-pointers by Dru Kuxhausen gives him 159 in his career and moving him into the No. 5 spot on the McNeese all-time record list for made 3s.
• The Cowboys played without KeyShawn Feazell for the second straight game as he recovers from a positive COVID test. His availability for Saturday is unknown.
• McNeese is 6-0 at home this season and outscoring its opponents by a 108-53 margin.
• The Cowboys have six players averaging double-digits in scoring heading into Saturday’s conference opener.
• In his last six games, Collin Warren has scored double-digits in all six and is averaging 15 points and 22 minutes of play per game.
• With shooting 54 percent on Wednesday night, the Cowboys have shot 50 percent or better from the field in seven of nine games on the year.
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As a New Orleans-area native, Jude grew up a fan of all sports and teams in the area. It’s a passion for the games that brought him into the fields of sports broadcasting and journalism. Whether he’s informing, reporting or entertaining, Jude brings his own special flavor to the task at hand. This Jesuit High School and Loyola New Orleans…