CORPUS CHRISTI – Kalob Ledoux led McNeese with 20 points but the Cowboys showed little life from the three-point line while hitting just 5 of 24, meanwhile Texas A&M-Corpus Christi got a 31-point, 15-rebound performance from Ehab Amin as the Islanders were able to hold off several McNeese threats to post an 81-70 Southland Conference win here Saturday afternoon.
The loss officially eliminated the Cowboys from the league postseason tournament as they fall to 7-20 overall and 4-12 in conference play. AMCC (18-9, 11-5) won for the ninth straight time and is still in the running for a piece of the league title and a double bye in tournament action.
“I thought we played hard,” said head coach Dave Simmons. “Especially coming off that loss on Thursday against Houston Baptist. We were in it for most of the game and never quit even when they (AMCC) got up on us late in the game.”
The Cowboys trailed 39-30 at the half and fell behind 47-37 with 15:55 to play before taking advantage of the Islanders’ Rashawn Thomas leaving the game with four fouls.
McNeese rallied to cut the gap to 47-43 after a LaBarrius Hill layup with 13:25 to play and was down 56-51 with 8:19 left following a Jacob Ledoux layup.
Corpus built the lead back to 9 after a Thomas layup then a jumper by Kareem South following an Adrian Brown turnover to make it 60-51 with 7:13 to play.
James Harvey followed with a 3 to cut it back to six points at 60-54 with 6:35 remaining.
McNeese trail 63-56 with 5:48 after a second Ledoux layup when the Islanders went on a 12-2 run over the next 2:32 to open up a 75-58 lead with 3:16 to play.
During that run, Stephen Ugochukwu fouled out with eight points and nine rebounds, and the Cowboys hit just 1 of their next 6 shots and were 0-5 from 3-point range.
The Cowboys followed with five straight points behind a Richard Laku 3 then a Kalob Ledoux jumper and Harvey sank a half court shot at the buzzer to end the game.
McNeese hit 25 of 57 from the field for 44 percent but was just 21 percent from long range after making just 5 of 25. The Cowboys also connected on 15 of 21 at the free throw line for 71 percent.
AMCC was 27 of 63 for 43 percent from the field and 4 of 19 (21 percent) from 3-point range. The Islanders hit 23 of 25 at the free throw line.
“Anytime a team hits 23 of 25 from the free throw line that makes it tough to win a ball game,” said Simmons.
Jarren Greenwood added 12 points for the Cowboys before having to come out of the game with 9:03 to play due to turning an ankle. He did not return.
Ugochukwu, Harvey and Jacob Ledoux each scored eight points.
McNeese will close out the season next week when it visits Sam Houston State on Thursday followed by the season finale at home next Saturday against Lamar.