Puou’s career day clinches UNO Southland Conference tourney bid, sweep of McNeese

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Distribution played a key role with UNO distributing 27 assists

NEW ORLEANS – Makur Puou finished with a career-high 23 points added eight rebounds, Travin Thibodeaux and Bryson Robinson took over in the second half as the University of New Orleans (14-12, 11-4 Southland) clinched a Southland Conference Tournament playoff spot with a 90-74 victory over McNeese State University (9-15, 6-8 Southland) Saturday afternoon at Lakefront Arena.

Puou was 9-of-12 overall in his second to last home game while Thibodeaux played the role of facilitator early, collecting seven assists and six boards to go with 18 points. Robinson scored all 14 points in the second half and added three assists and Lamont Berzat finished with seven points, six assists and four steals.

The Privateers swept the regular season series versus McNeese.

It was the Puou show early on as the senior, who was one of four honored pregame, scored 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Despite the hot start, the South Sudan native went to the bench with two fouls with 5:35 remaining in the frame.

He led all scorers at the half, Thibodeaux added seven points, four rebounds and four assists and Michael Zeno dished three dimes. Scott Plaisance swatted away two shots as New Orleans led 33-32 at the break to offset the three-point Cowboys shooting (6-of-14).

Point-forward Thibodeaux continued in the second half and the defense stood tall in the paint swatting away shots at will, leading to an 8-0 run that forced a timeout and extended UNO’s lead to nine less than two minutes into the half.

On the other side of the break, Robinson drained his third triple of the day to extend the Blue and Silver lead to double digits.

The run continued as BRob and Thibodeaux led the offensive effort but McNeese cut the 20-point lead to nine before New Orleans

All of Robinson’s points came in the second half and Thibodeaux posted 11 of his 18 in the period.

New Orleans has three games remaining in the regular season after the 90-74 victory.

The Privateers head to Huntsville to face Sam Houston State University Wednesday on ESPN3.

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