McNeese goes toe-to-toe with Nicholls but falls, 85-80

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THIBODAUX – The McNeese men’s basketball team went head-to-head with Nicholls on Wednesday night, as the two matched up in an offensive shoot out. The Cowboys fell 85-80, posting one of their highest scoring games in a loss, despite the absence of starting point guard Jarren Greenwood.

Greenwood, who has led McNeese in scoring in the previous two games, averaging 12.2 points per game, did not play tonight to rest an aggravated groin pull.

“You can wonder if there would have been a different turnout with Jarren in the game, he scores a lot for us, but more importantly, he’s our best defending guard. He could be useful in a game like this with a lot of three pointers going up,” head coach Dave Simmons said.

Stepping up in Greenwood’s absence was Kalob Ledoux, who scored 15 of his 17 points from long range with a game high five three-pointers made.

Ledoux was not the only starter with double-digits at the conclusion of the contest, in fact all five starters finished the night in double-digits.

Just behind Ledoux was Stephen Ugochukwu (15), James Harvey (14), Quatarrius Wilson (13), and brother Jacob Ledoux (10).

The first half was a similar showing for the Cowboys, playing their best and shooting shot-for-shot with the Colonels. The two teams would never lead by more than four and would tie five times in the first half alone.

Kalob Ledoux closed out the first half with his fourth trey of the night, giving McNeese had a slim two-point lead on Nicholls.

Going 6-10 from beyond the arc and 7-8 from the free-throw line, the Cowboys were shooting more efficiently than the Colonels across the board.

“I’m content with our offense, when you look at these numbers, you can be satisfied on that end- putting up 80 points in conference with five players in the double-digits. What I’m more set on tending to is our defense” Simmons said.

In the second half, Nicholls would take the lead at 7:18 with a jumper by Jahvaughn Powell, McNeese would be unable to over the lead for the remainder of the game.

Simmons commented on the need for McNeese to up its defensive abilities, “Nicholls has a lot of big players, even on the outside and we just could not match up. But we can’t keep letting them drive the basket, giving them easy points.”

Within the six-minute mark, back to back fouls by McNeese would send Tevon Saddler and Roddy Peters to the charity stripe. Both Saddler and Peters sink both their shots, giving Nicholls its biggest let yet as they led by five, 67-62.

The Ledoux brothers put up a basket a piece but a corner three by Powell would give Nicholls a six-point lead with under four to play.

With 2:45 left on the clock, the Cowboys would go on a 12-5, ending with a huge dunk by LaBarrius Hill, and pulling within two of the Colonels lead.

Harvey would hit his only basket inside the arc with 12 seconds remaining, keeping McNeese in the ball games as they trailed by two, 80-82.

Nicholls would add the final three points to the book from the free-throw line as the Cowboys dropped their 12th straight road match and fall to 5-10 on the season, 2-3 in conference play.

Wilson finished the night with his fifth double-double of the season, getting back to his roots and his double-digit rebounding games.

“It’s good to see Quatarrius back in the double-doubles, he’s a huge help on the glass, but as a team, we need to be more aggressive on the glass. Giving them 12 offensive rebounds just can’t happen.”

The Cowboys finished with a mere 23 rebounds, 15 less than the Colonels. It stands as the Cowboys lowest rebounding game of the season, and one of the biggest spreads all year.

McNeese loads the bus once again and heads to Hammond on Saturday to face the Lions in its sixth conference match-up. Game time is slated for 5:00PM.

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