LAKE CHARLES – Two crucial McNeese turnovers in the final five minutes in Saturday’s game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with the Cowboys trailing by 1 point proved to be key moments in a 73-66 Southland Conference loss.
McNeese (7-17, 4-9 SLC) rallied from several second half double-digit deficits and wound up with a couple of chances to take the lead late in the game.
Trailing 61-51 with 9:00 left on the clock, McNeese ran off an 11-2 run over the next 4:17 behind a couple of Jacob Ledoux baskets and five points from James Harvey in that span. The Cowboys cut it to 63-62 after a Stephen Ugochukwu layup with 4:43 to play then held AMCC (14-9, 7-5) to get the ball back with a chance to take their first lead of the game since the first minute of the contest.
Kalob Ledoux, who with Harvey, scored 15 points in the game to lead the Cowboys, drove the lane on the ensuing possession and as he attempted to pass the ball out to a wide open Harvey on the baseline for a 3, tripped in the lane and was whistled for traveling.
The Islanders got a layup on the other end by Rashawn Thomas, who scored 28 points with 13 rebounds, to put his team up 65-62. McNeese responded with an offensive board and putback by Ugochukwu, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds, to cut the gap to 65-64 with 2:50 to play.
After a Thomas miss and a Lance Potier rebound, McNeese was in line to take the lead again, but Jamaya Burr’s drive into the lane resulted in a turnover and the Islanders went on to score six straight points to put the game away.
Burr scored 13 points with three assists while Potier added 11 rebounds and seven points.
AMCC’s Ehad Amin added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds while Kareem South scored 11.
Corpus connected on 46 percent of its shots (27 of 59) for the game and was 5 of 15 from 3-point range.
McNeese hit 22 of 59 from the field for 37 percent including 8 of 28 from long range.
The Cowboys held a 39-35 advantage in rebounds and both teams each scored 14 points from the free throw line.
McNeese trailed 43-35 at the half but outplayed the Islanders in the final five minutes as it rallied from a 16-point deficit to cut the deficit to single digits at the break.
McNeese played without starting guard Jarren Greenwood who injured his hand against UNO on Thursday night.
The Cowboys will be back in action on Thursday when they host Abilene Christian.