Myles Hutchinson gets ready to shoot a free throw for McNeese.
Hutchinson, McNeese play hoop in Bahamas
LAKE CHARLES – McNeese men’s basketball had quite the experience last week in the Bahamas where the Cowboys faced off against three of the island’s professional teams at the BBF Summer of Thunder event.
But there was more to the trip than just the winning, it was a valuable experience for everyone involved with the Cowboy program from the competition on the court to the team bonding off the floor.
“It was a phenomenal opportunity to represent McNeese State University in a foreign country,” said second year head coach Heath Schroyer. “It was an unbelievable experience from a cultural standpoint. I think our guys got a lot out of it and we got better as the week went on.
“We played against three professional teams. The team we played the first night had an average age of 31 and won their league championship last year. They lost to Temple on a last second shot the night before so they were a really talented team.”
NCAA rules state that teams can play out of the country once every four years and are allowed 10 practice days to prepare for such competition.
That’s a value Schroyer said you can’t put a price on.
“We went over there and got better. Having so many new guys getting real game experience, that really jump-started our season. Having the 10 days of practice, you can’t put a price or a value to what the trip meant to us as a team.”
In the three games (McNeese won two), returner Sha’Markus Kennedy and newcomer A.J. Lawson averaged 20 or more points per game – Kennedy with a 21.7 mark and Lawson at 20.7. Newcomer and sharp-shooter Dru Kuxhausen averaged 15.7 points a game while sinking 52 percent of his 3-point shots.
Returning all-conference player Roydell Brown led the way in rebounding with an 8.3 average.
Abbeville’s own Myles Hutchinson is a junior for McNeese. He averaged four points a game in the three games.
McNeese dropped the first game, 79-65, to the Commonwealth Bank Giants as Kennedy led the Cowboys with 22 points on 10 of 16 shooting while Lawson scored 21. Both notched double-digits in rebounds as well – Kennedy with 12 and Lawson 10.
As a team, the Cowboys connected on 54 percent of their shots from the floor (36 of 67) and held a 47-39 advantage on the glass.
The final game saw the Cowboys drum IBA Elite 114-72.
McNeese torched the nets with 59 percent shooting (42 of 71) including 15 of 25 from long range for 63 percent.
The Cowboys will return to the practice floor at the beginning of October when the official start to the 2019-20 season gets underway.