NEW ORLEANS – McNeese’s start to the “Rodeo Road Trip” was any but a rodeo as the Cowboys shot a season-low 11 percent from 3-point range and 37 percent from the field while turning the ball over 20 times in a 75-56 loss to first place New Orleans here Thursday night in Southland Conference action.
The loss was the second straight suffered by the Cowboys (6-13, 3-5 SLC) while UNO (12-7, 7-1) stays in sole possession of first place.
Stephen Ugochukwu was one of few bright spots for the Cowboys, recording a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Jacob Ledoux added 10 points, all in the second half.
UNO, the league’s top shooting team, connected on 54 percent of its shots for the game while four players scored double-figures, led by conference scoring leader Erik Thomas with 17 points.
“We just made too many mistakes,” said head coach Dave Simmons. “You can’t turn the ball over as many times as we did, and shoot as poorly as we did, and expect to beat the first place team in the league.”
McNeese trailed 40-22 at the half after UNO scored 15 points off of 12 McNeese turnovers.
The Cowboys led 5-4 after a Ugochukwu jumper just three-and-a-half minutes into the game, and were down 8-7 with 14:13 to play in the half, when the Cowboys turned it over four of their next five possessions that led to eight UNO points as the Privateer lead climbed into double-digits.
The second half could’ve been the Cowboys’ chance to get back into the game as UNO, who turned it over just three times in the first 20 minutes, turned it over five times in the first seven minutes of the second half to open the door for a McNeese run.
But the Cowboys were unable to find the net as they missed 12 of their first 13 shots of the half and was 0-for-12 from 3-point range for the half.
“We hurt ourselves more than anyone else does,” said Simmons. “UNO has a good team. They’re in first place for a reason. But when you turn the ball over 20 times, you’re killing yourself.”
McNeese returns to action on Saturday when it visits Nicholls at 6:30.