Last Modified: Friday, February 08, 2013 8:55 PM
McNeese State’s offense has been low on firepower lately, so it was fitting that a guy named Cannon was the one who came through for the Cowboys.
Senior point guard Dontae Cannon snapped McNeese’s four-game losing streak on Thursday night on a 7-foot jumper with 1.2 seconds left in overtime, giving the Cowboys a much-needed 59-58 win over Sam Houston State. Cannon also hit the shot at the end of regulation that got McNeese into the extra period, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the second half.
“We needed a win so bad you could see the smiles on the kids faces after that,” said Cowboys coach Dave Simmons. “We just felt elated after that. Dontae was in control. He managed the floor well the whole game.”
The Cowboys (9-12, 3-8 Southland) will try to begin a streak moving in the opposite direction with tonight’s game at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2-18, 1-9).
Cannon, who scored 22 points in Sunday’s 86-74 loss to Northwestern State, seems to be breaking through as the offensive leader the Cowboys have needed to put together some wins.
“He created shots for other guys, and then he was able to get his shots. That was the biggest thing,” Simmons said. “This time last year as a team we started to figure it out a little bit. With new guys getting their roles down that is the most difficult thing. Now it’s the confidence and maturity part. We have to continue to put that recipe together again tonight.”
McNeese has also started using forward Desharick Guidry as an outside threat. He is 5 of 7 behind the arc in the last three games after attempting nine 3-pointers the rest of the season.
Most significantly, the Cowboys were 13 of 14 from the free-throw line against the Bearkats. McNeese has struggled from the line all season, ranking 301st in the country in free-throw percentage.
“I always thought it was from the shoulders up,” Simmons said of those woes. “We’re shooting more free throws and gaining confidence. If you shoot more, you develop more confidence by consistency. They’ve been able to get more time on the line. That was a big improvement. That’s the only way you can win game as tight as this was, is to make free throws.”