Cowboys search for way out of SLC basement

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, February 4, 2023

When last the Cowboys saw the Lions, all was good.

McNeese State was off to a 2-0 start in the Southland Conference and feeling good about itself.

The Cowboys even owned a 15-point lead over Texas A&M-Commerce on Jan. 7 in Lake Charles. Since then little if anything has gone right for McNeese.

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Today they look to avenge an 82-80 overtime loss to the Lions when they travel to Commerce, Texas, for a rematch. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m.

The Cowboys (5-18) are also looking to break an eight-game losing skid, their longest since dropping the final eight games of the 2017 campaign.

McNeese enters the game 2-8 and in last place in the 10-team league. They are a game behind both Lamar and New Orleans in the race for the eighth and final spot in the SLC postseason tournament which will be played in Lake Charles.

“I feel we are snakebit right now,” said McNeese head coach John Aiken. “We have to find a way to get our confidence back.”

Beating the Lions would be a good start.

Commerce (10-14) is in fourth place at 6-3 in its first year in the conference. The Lions are also coming off a surprising week off. Their home game against Nicholls State on Thursday was postponed due to an ice storm. So they will be fresh.

Meanwhile, McNeese was suffering a late-game collapse that saw the Cowboys fall to Lamar 70-63.

“I wish I had the answer,” Aiken said. “We are just not finishing plays in the final four minutes. You are left scratching your head.”

Forward Demarcus Demonia led the Lions in the first meeting with 31 points and eight rebounds. Tommie Lewis added 19.

McNeese got 18 points from Harwin Francois, who made 6 of 8 3-point shots.

Aiken said he believes the Cowboys will turn their season around in time to make the postseason.

“I do believe that we will look back in a couple of weeks and will be in a better place and this will all make sense,” he said.