Cowboys, Shumate on roll, freshman forward scores game-high 29

Published 1:28 pm Sunday, January 23, 2022

Special to the American Press

SAN ANTONIO – Christian Shumate scored a career-high 29 points, with 14 of those coming off the offensive glass, and McNeese State held off a second-half rally to beat Incarnate Word 82-72 Saturday in a Southland Conference game.

Shumate completed the double-double, his fourth of the season, with 11 rebounds.

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It was the first road win in 10 games for the Cowboys (8-12, 2-1 SLC), who have won three of their last four games. It also snapped a two-game losing streak to the Cardinals (4-16, 0-3), who have lost five of their last six games.

Kellon Taylor added 14 points for the Cowboys while Myles Lewis scored 12, including a crucial 3-pointer late, and Zach Scott added 10.

UIW was led by Charlie Yoder’s season-high 25 points while season leading scorer R.J. Glasper was held to two points. Bradley Akhile added a season-best 15 points.

McNeese, which never trailed, took a 14-2 lead to open the game and a 49-28 halftime lead.

“I thought we dominated every phase of the game in the first half,” said Cowboys first-year head coach John Aiken. “But in the second half we weren’t very good defensively. I think we took our foot off the gas a little bit. We also had guys in foul trouble but we weathered that storm.”

Lewis matched the Cowboys’ largest lead at 25 points with a layup with 16:20 to play in the second half to make it a 59-34 lead. From that point, and over the next 9:09, UIW connected on eight of its next 10 shots and put together a 24-7 run to cut the McNeese lead to 66-58 with 9:09 to play.

McNeese answered with a Shumate put-back after a miss, then his blocked shot and rebound on the defensive end resulted in a Harwin Francois 3 to give the Cowboys a 71-58 advantage with 8:19 remaining.

UIW had an answer and scored seven straight to cut the lead to 71-65 at the 5:31 mark.

But with McNeese leading 74-69 at the final media timeout, Lewis sank his lone 3-point shot of the game as the shot clock was running out. Shumate followed with a layup to lift the Cowboys back to a 10-point advantage.

“Myles Lewis made a heck of a shot,” Aiken said. “It was a five-point game then. That was a huge, huge possession.”

The Cowboys shot 51 percent from the field (30 of 59), including 18 of 33 for 55 percent in the first half. UIW flipped the script in the second half, hitting 50 percent of its shots after a 36-percent performance in the first. For the game, the Cardinals connected on 44 percent (22 of 50).

McNeese was 4 of 10 from long range while UIW hit 5 of 15, and from the free-throw line, the Cowboys sank 18 of 28 for 64 percent while UIW made 23 of 29 for 79 percent, including 14 of 18 in the second half.

The Cowboys owned a 38-29 advantage in rebounds including 15-7 on the offensive glass which led to a 23-8 lead in second chance scoring. McNeese also scored 14 points off turnovers and 46 points in the paint.

The Cowboys begin a four-game homestand on Thursday when they host Nicholls State.