McNeese drains record 19 threes in 104-33 win over SUNO
LAKE CHARLES – Country music star Gyth Rigdon lit the fuse on McNeese’s home opener Monday night with a terrific rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, then McNeese sharp-shooters Dru Kuxhausen and Sam Baker followed with the explosions as the two combined to score 44 points while sinking 14 of McNeese’s school-record 19 three-point goals to help race the Cowboys past Southern-New Orleans, 104-33.
Both players only took shots from behind the three-point arc – Kuxhausen hitting 7 of 10 while Baker knocked down 7 of 9 as his trey with 5:24 to play in the game set the new record of 16 threes, breaking the old mark of 15 set against Loyola in the early part of the 2002-03 season. He also hit the final one of the game to lift the record to 19.
The two were just two 3-pointers away from matching Diego Kapelan’s single game record of nine against Northwestern State in 2009.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said head coach Heath Schroyer. “Obviously we’re in the middle of a really tough stretch of six of our first eight (games) on the road. I think we’ve shown a lot of growth throughout the last week.
“I think we did a really good job of spacing the floor. We’ve talked about the ball movement and how quick we have to move the ball and our spacing on the floor. We were able to do that. We have guys that can knock down shots and get open shots.”
McNeese (1-2) dominated SUNO from start to finish and opened the game on a 10-0 run. The lead increased to 26-2 after a 16-0 run that including four made 3s, two by Kuxhausen and one each by A.J. Lawson and Jalen Poyser.
The Cowboys led 50-9 at the half as Kuxhausen racked up 17 points at the break by going 5 of 7 from long range, several of those from deep territory.
“Once I hit a couple in a row, I like to go deeper and see what I can do there, and that’s kind of what I was doing tonight,” said Kuxhausen who is a junior transfer from Western Nebraska Community College.
The second half was Baker’s show as he scored 18 points in the final 20 minutes behind 6 of 8 shooting from behind the three line.
“Me and Dru spend a lot of time together, just us two, one on one getting shots off,” said Baker about his preparation. “We like to push each other. Dru has always been a little more consistent and it’s been good for me to learn from him, just little things to make my shot better. He was coming off the floor telling me that when I get an opportunity I need to let one go. He was giving me that confidence even though he was hitting from everywhere.”
Two other players scored in double-digits for the Cowboys – Sha’Markus Kennedy with 14 points and nine rebounds and Lawson scored 12. Chris Orlina made his debut by sinking nine points with a team-high 10 boards to go along with a team-best four assists, matching the four dished out by Trey Johnson.
The Cowboys recorded 23 assists on 32 made shots and hit 53.3 percent from the floor (32-60) including a whopping 61 percent (17 of 28) in the second half.
The 63.3 percent shooting from behind the arc (19 of 30) also set a new single-game school record, breaking the old mark of 61.5 percent (8 of 13) against ULL in 2004.
“I’m proud of our guys,” said Schroyer. “These two (Kuxhausen and Baker) had a great night shooting the basketball. Our spacing really helped them get shots. Our players found them. I’m really proud of how we played tonight.”
SUNO was led by Chris Mark’s 11 points and the Knights were held to just 26 percent shooting (15 of 58) and 3 of 14 from long range.
McNeese will hit the road for its next two games beginning Wednesday when it visits Wisconsin at 6 p.m. then followed up with a trip to New Mexico on Saturday.
Wednesday’s game will be televised on the Big Ten Network while Saturday’s game will air on the Mountain West Network.
The Cowboys will return home next Monday against Arlington Baptist.
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