Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ended up being just what the doctor ordered for McNeese State, though the prescription didn’t go down all that easily as the Cowboys escaped with a 75-71 Southland Conference win over the struggling Islanders Thursday night at Burton Coliseum.
McNeese (7-7, 1-3 SLC) snapped a four-game losing streak while the Islanders (1-12, 0-3) dropped their 11th in a row.
“I’m just happy that we won,” said McNeese head coach Dave Simmons. “We needed that very badly. Anybody can beat anybody in this league, especially in the lower tier.”
Four Cowboys scored in double figures, led by 16 points from Desharick Guidry. Kevin Hardy broke out of a two-game cold spell with 14 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
“Kevin rebounded extremely well,” Simmons said. “Everything came off of that.”
Hardy hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, then added nine second-half points.
“You can see the difference in the score,” Simmons said. “That was obviously a huge momentum play for us, and going into the first 5 minutes of the second half trying to continue to stretch the lead. We did that. We just have to close out a little better as far as late-game management.”
Ledrick Eackles came off the bench for 15 points, and Craig McFerrin was just shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Cowboys had to withstand a red-hot start from the Islanders, who drained their first five shots from 3-point range. Will Nelson led Corpus Christi with a game-high 24 points and Johnathan Jordan added 17.
The Islanders struggled from the field in the second half, shooting 32.1 percent (9 of 28). However, a 15-of-16 effort from the free-throw line kept Corpus Christi alive.
The Cowboys kept the Islanders at bay by making their own free throws down the stretch. McNeese was 12-for-14 from the line in the final 2 minutes.
McNeese won the rebounding battle by a 40-29 margin.