Desharick Guidry tries to get the offensive rebound during the first half of McNeese State University's match against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Thursday night. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, January 17, 2014 11:21 AMAs it turns out, McNeese State would have been better off facing the College Station branch of Texas A&M on Thursday night. The Cowboys were at least able to hang with the Aggies.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, on the other hand, looked more like it was in the Southeastern Conference than the Southland as it cruised past McNeese 77-61.
At times the Islanders (7-11, 4-1 SLC) made the game seem as easy as if they were the Harlem Globetrotters, while the only thing the Cowboys (5-12, 3-2) impersonated was the Washington Generals.
McNeese’s matador-like defense in the first half enabled the Islanders to scorch the nets at a 64.3 percent clip (18 of 28) and open up a 47-24 halftime lead.
“That’s probably the worst half we’ve played all year,” said McNeese coach Dave Simmons. “Even when we played at some of the bigger teams. They beat us at every aspect of the game in the first half. Their energy was better. They whipped us on the glass. Their transition game was better. They hit shots.”
With the Cowboys hitting 25.9 percent of their shots in the first half, including 3 of 17 from behind the 3-point arc, the final 20 minutes of the game were merely academic.
“In games like that, you have to do the dirty work and have your defense and rebounding create the offense,” Simmons said. “We did better in the second half, but the game was pretty much lost in the first half.”
Corpus Christi power forward Zane Knowles had a leisurely night at the office with 16 points and nine rebounds on 8 of 9 shooting. He rebounded and put back his only miss.
“We didn’t have an answer for the inside game,” Simmons said.
The Cowboys’ unorthodox method of watching Corpus Christi rebound in lieu of boxing out backfired badly as they were outworked on the glass by a 36-20 margin.
“We have to look at the tape to find out why we were so bad in the first half,” Simmons said. “We may need to make some adjustments in our starting lineup, because we didn’t have any energy.”
Even slender 6-foot-2 Islanders guard Jake Kocher managed to look like Dennis Rodman (pre-hair dye, pre-North Korea version) with eight rebounds.
Kocher was one of three Islanders to join Knowles in double figures, finishing with 10 points off the bench. John Jordan added 12, while Joy Williams also came off the bench for 10.
The Islanders ate the Cowboys alive inside the paint, outscoring McNeese 42-18.
Desharick Guidry was the lone Cowboy in double figures with 11 points.
If McNeese had any hopes of a comeback, it went out the window when guard Kevin Hardy fouled out with as the Cowboys trailed by 18 with 11:09 left in the game.
“Obviously we needed him,” Simmons said. “He only plays 18 minutes, and he was our second-leading rebounder.”
McNeese will try to rebound — literally and figuratively — against Houston Baptist on Saturday in the second game of a five-game homestand.