Demons fail to untie McNeese in SLC tournament loss

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KATY, Texas — During the regular season, McNeese took advantage of big late-game surges to record two regular-season wins over Northwestern State.

In the first round of Wednesday’s Southland Conference Tournament, the No. 7-seeded Cowboys made a big push in the first half en route to an 80-67 win to end the No. 6-seeded Demons’ season.

The Cowboys held an early 10-9 lead, engineered a 21-2 run to lead 31-11, and maintained that lead at 43-23 at halftime.

NSU (9-23) cut McNeese’s lead to 12 on three separate occasions in the second half, but the Cowboys (11-21) had the answers to beat the Demons for the third time this season. McNeese is 3-10 in their last 13 games, with all three wins coming against NSU.

“The matchup wasn’t very good for us because we couldn’t play Kendall Coleman and Larry Owens together,” said the NSU coach Mike McConathy. “McNeese made some shots but they had early advantage on points through turnovers and second chance points that were really big.

Brian White was injured and couldn’t move sideways so it changed our lineup. We got it in the second half, but we had already run into a hole and couldn’t get over it. Sometimes when you’re so down you capture every shot and McNeese took every shot they needed.

In McNeese’s 21-2 run, Christian Shumate, a third-team All-SLC selection, scored seven of his nine points during the run and was part of a 24-6 lead in bank points, a typical strength for NSU. The Cowboys had an overall lead of 34-18 bank points.

Another common strength is the offensive efficiency of his posts, but the demons Kendall Coleman and Larry Owens combined to go 3-13 in the first half as NSU went 35 percent overall as a team.

The Demons shot better (53 percent) in the second half as Coleman and Owens finished 6-17.

“The coaches were telling me the doubles team might be coming, and I was trying to play fast or step up to an open man,” said Coleman, who was recording his 17th Double double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds. “We were prepared and did our best.”

McNeese made 3 3s during the run and five in the first half for a team that only averages six 3s per game, but the Cowboys shot the Demons out of their zone defenses. The Cowboys finished 7-19 deep in the game, shooting 50 percent overall from the floor.

Carvell Teasett contributed 15 of his 20 second-half points with five assists to join Coleman in double digits. Houstonians Cedric Garrett added 12 points (6-11 shooting) and five rebounds.

Senior LaTerrance Reed scored nine points in a 4-6 shooting.

The Demons assembled a 15-8 run to reduce McNeese’s lead to 56-44, but the Cowboys scored six of the next eight points.

“We had the will not to lose and we fought hard in the second half,” said Garrett. “McNeese took the shots and it was her game today.”

NSU finished the game on a 12-1 run, but McNeese’s free-throw efficiency (15-18) thwarted a serious comeback attempt given the Demons’ poor free-throw shooting (8-15).

McNeese’s Kellon Taylor led all scorers with 22 points on 7-8 shooting and 8-8 from the free throw line. Taylor scored 16 points in the second half.

He was joined by Trae English (12 points) and Zach Scott (11 points) who shot 3-6 from deep along with Harwin Francois.

The Cowboys possessed the rebound advantage (41-28), resulting in an 18-7 advantage in second chance points.

NSU has committed just 10 turnovers and held a 19-10 points lead over turnovers, usually a McNeese strength.

This tournament was only the fourth in 15 SLC tournament appearances where a Mike McConathy The NSU team has not won a game as McConathy is 19-11 all-time.

Owens finished his career in 24th place with 536 reboundsth All time in NSU history.

Coleman joined the 300 rebound club for one season and finishes with 304, which ranks 13thth in NSU history.

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