Cowboys back from 10-day layoff, running out of time, games

Jim Gazzolo, Special to the American Press

Hoping for a strong finish is about all the McNeese State Cowboys have left right now.

There season has been torn apart by everything they have been forced to go through. Add poor play at key moments of games and you have a season nobody expected.

After a 10-day COVID-19 layoff, the Cowboys return seeking to right what has gone wrong.

“It has been a very unprecedented season for sure,” said Cowboys head coach Heath Schroyer.

High hopes have turned to disappointment and frustration for McNeese, which gets back to work tonight with a Southland Conference game at Southeastern Louisiana. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Hammond.

“Our guys are anxious to get back on the floor,” Schroyer said. “It’s all they can do.”

McNeese (8-11) is 2-8 in the Southland, one win behind the eighth and final spot in the postseason conference tournament. SLU is 7-13, 5-6.

The Cowboys were shut down after a positive test and contact tracing protocol left them with fewer than the SLC requirement of eight players available for a pair of home games.

The two games lost will not be made up.

“We have just run out of time and dates,” said Schroyer, whose team has four regular-season games remaining.

McNeese had five players available for practice last week.

“It was tough to get anything done with that few of players,” Schroyer said. “We finally got some people back on Monday.”

McNeese will be looking for revenge after losing the first meeting with the Lions 92-88 on Jan. 20 in Lake Charles. SLU forward Gus Okafor had a career night as the junior scored 26 on 10-for-16 shooting, connecting on four 3-pointers. Guard Keon Clergeot added 22.

“They are a problem for us because they put five guys on the floor who can shoot but also can take the ball to the basket off the dribble,” Schroyer said of the Lions. “They are very interchangeable.”

Senior guard A.J. Lawson led the Cowboys with 21 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. However, any hope of a comeback ended as McNeese had trouble getting off shots down the stretch.

“We had our chances in that game and didn’t get it done,” Schroyer said. “We have to find ways to win games down the stretch.

“All we can do is just get back on the floor and make a run at it.”McNeese athletics

McNeese State University

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