It’s a bit early for a must-win, but that’s the way McNeese State (6-7, 0-3 Southland) is approaching tonight’s game with
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as the Cowboys try to pick up their first conference victory.
“That’s how we’re looking at it with an 0-3 start,” said sophomore guard Kevin Hardy. “We can turn it around right here. We
still have a lot of games left in conference. We just need to get that one victory and streak off of that.”
Streakiness is becoming this team’s identity. McNeese is currently on a four-game losing streak that began at North Carolina,
but won five straight prior to that.
“I just think it’s the little things fundamentally,” said coach Dave Simmons of the difference between the two streaks. “We’ve
got to be a better offensive-flow team. We’ve got to push the ball more. Everyone wants the same thing, but sometimes one
guy is trying to carry us the whole time instead of letting the team help out. We’ve got to come out with some energy and
play hard, get every loose ball. Defensively is where it starts.”
The emphasis on defense was evident as the Cowboys turned a 19-point first-half deficit to Nicholls into an 8-point second-half
lead before ultimately falling 64-63 on Monday night.
“We’ve got to have fun and put two halves together,” Hardy said. “When you come in playing from behind, you get tired. We’ve
got to put two halves together and finish the game.”
Fortunately for the Cowboys, they are running into an opponent that’s colder than the air in Burton Coliseum.
The Islanders (1-11, 0-2) are on an 11-game skid after winning their season opener.
Though that’s just the recipe a slumping team needs to revive itself, Simmons knows the Islanders are likely eyeing the Cowboys
in a similar fashion.
“You can’t give up any more home games,” Simmons said. “That’s the biggest thing, more than who you are playing. Record does
not matter. We were all 0-0 when we started (conference). Now we’re 0-3.”