Cowboys keep Wade’s promise with latest win

Published 7:59 pm Saturday, February 24, 2024

Will Wade promised and his Cowboys delivered.

Last March, just hours after he was named the new McNeese State head coach, Wade said the Cowboys would win 23 games plus one. 

Saturday, his players made Wade a prophet.

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McNeese rolled to their 24th win with an 87-71 thumping of a short-stacked Incarnate Word team that was missing four players due to suspensions.

The Cowboys improved to 24-3 overall and 13-1 in the Southland Conference, three games up in the race for the championship with four games to play. The victory was also McNeese’s fourth in a row and 18th in the Pokes’ last 19 games.

Still, Wade wasn’t happy after his team gave up 50 points in the second half to the Cardinals.

“We gave up 50 points in a half, that’s hard to do,” said Wade. “We weren’t as locked in and we weren’t as focused.

“It is not good enough for what we are trying to do.”

Christian Shumate continued his hot play, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. It was his fourth straight double-double and 31st of his career, one off the program record.

Shumate came out just after picking up his 10th rebound and putting on a show for the Legacy crowd. He had five dunks, three of them coming off lob passes. The last was a perfect off-the-backboard throw from Shahada Wells. 

Wells added 12 points and Antavion Collum had 14. Javohn Garcia tossed in 11 as four Cowboys scored in double figures.

TJ Ford scored 14 to lead the Cardinals with 14. 

McNeese used a 13-0 run in the first half, 10 straight at one point, to grab a 30-13 lead with 4:46 remaining. Another late run gave the Cowboys a 44-21. 

“It was a tale of two halves,” said Wade. “Our second half was not as good.”

The Cardinals shot 70.8 percent overall in the second half and 69.2% on three points. 

“You can’t give up 70 percent threes and expect to win,” said Wade. “Not good enough.”

McNeese did finish with 21 assists and just four turnovers. The Cowboys forced 19 turnovers and scored 27 points off those mistakes.

The Cowboys will try to wrap up at least a share of their first regular season title since 2011 when they travel to Beaumont, Texas Monday night to play Lamar. A win would give them the double-bye in the upcoming SLC postseason tournament.