LAKE CHARLES – Kalob Ledoux scored a career-high 22 points and McNeese connected on 52 percent of its shots from the field, but Houston Baptist rallied from a 20-point second half deficit to stun the Cowboys 81-79 on Thursday night.
McNeese (7-19, 4-11 SLC) led 38-27 at the half and appeared to be well on its way to an upset win over the Huskies (14-12, 9-6) after a couple of Ledoux 3-point field goals put the Cowboys up 67-47 with 11:58 to play.
But the Huskies gradually chipped away at the lead behind 17 free throws, 15 points off turnovers and 10 second chance points, all in the second half.
“I feel really bad for out kids,” said head coach Dave Simmons. “We played really well for the most part and really did a good job hitting our shots. We knew we needed to have this one (game). Now we need to finish out strong in our last three games.”
Ledoux, who hit 7 of 15 from the field including 6 of 11 from long range, was one of four Cowboys to score in double-figures. Jarren Greenwood netted 16 points while AJ Brown and James Harvey each scored 10.
The Cowboys connected on 28 of 54 for 52 percent from the field, 11 of 23 for 48 percent from 3-point range, and 12 of 14 for 86 percent at the free throw line.
HBU was led in scoring by Atif Russell’s 14 points as the Huskies made 22 free throws in 26 attempts while making 26 of 75 from the field for 35 percent.
Brown put the Cowboys up 75-58 with 8:10 to play to snap a 4-point run by the Huskies. That would be the last field goal the Cowboys would hit for the rest of the game.
Greenwood, who hit 5 of 6 from the field and all four of his free throws, knocked down two freebies to put the Cowboys up 79-69 with 4:34 to play.
HBU’s Alex Fountain scored five straight points to cut the gap to 79-74 with 2:59 to play then Braxton Bonds hit two free throws to make it a one possession game at 79-76 with 2:22 left.
The Cowboys had the ball with less than 1:30 to play but Greenwood was whistled for a charge and HBU took over 1:24 to play. Just 13 seconds later, Asa Cantwell, who scored all 12 of his points on four 3-pointers, hit his fourth to tie the game with 1:11 remaining.
McNeese would turn the ball over on a shot clock violation and after a HBU timeout with 29 seconds to play, Colter Lasher hit a baseline jumper with 13 seconds to play to put the Huskies up 81-79 and Jamaya Burr’s jumper from the top of the key fell short at the buzzer.
McNeese returns to action on Saturday afternoon when it visits Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.