Pick on someone your own size, St. Francis offers Cowboys measuring stick

Published 9:00 am Friday, November 26, 2021

After playing above their pay grade and below, McNeese State will get a look today at a team on its own level.

The Cowboys (2-3) will continue play in the Emerald Coast Classic at 11 a.m. today against St. Francis of Brooklyn in Niceville, Florida. McNeese will play Saturday against either Samford or North Carolina A&T at a time to be determined.

McNeese opened the eight-team tournament with an 85-46 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 18. SFB lost the same day to Penn State 74-59.

“It will be nice to play against somebody that looks like us,” said McNeese head coach John Aiken. “It will be nice to play in a tournament-like setting against teams that are similar to ourselves. This will be a good chance to see where we are at.”

McNeese is 0-3 in games against larger programs while 2-0 at home vs. non-NCAA clubs. The Cowboys have beaten Carver Bible College (98-54) and Champion Christian (116-66) at Burton Coliseum.

They have also lost to Southern Methodist and Texas Christian on the road to go along with falling at LSU.

“We have played such a big difference in competition,” Aiken said. “These games are going to show us what we are doing well and what we need to work on. This is an important weekend for us.”

The two games start a six-game road trip for the Cowboys, who will travel next week to play Seattle and Wyoming before returning to Louisiana for a game Dec. 8 against the Ragin’ Cajuns in Lafayette.

“Playing against those types of teams will be fun,” said transfer freshman Christian Schumate, who had 13 points and eight rebounds in McNeese’s win Monday over Carver.

“The more we play on the court together the better we will get.”

Center Brendan Medley-Bacon leads the Cowboys in scoring and rebounding averaging 12.2 points and 5.4 boards a game. He is the lone McNeese player in double digits with Myles Lewis next at 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds next.

Aiken said the Cowboys hope to get T.J. Moss back for the weekend. Moss missed Monday’s game with an ankle injury.

“We kept T.J. out but could have used him if needed,” Aiken said. “We need to make sure we don’t play too fast and get off to better starts now.”

Along with Penn State, St. Francis has played Wisconsin and are coming off a 76-70 loss to St. John’s on Tuesday.

Forward Emilien Patrick leads Terriers, averaging 12.8 points a game. Michael Cubbage, who had 19 against St. John’s, 15 in the first half, is next for SFB at 12.3.

“Playing in a tournament atmosphere will help us when we go to both the preseason Southland tournament and the conference championship one at the end,” Aiken said.