The loss closes out the Cowboy season at 17-16, while Toledo continues on in the tournament with a 19-16 mark. This is the fourth year of the tournament and the first appearance for the Cowboys in the event.
In the first meeting ever between the two schools, Toledo knocked down 61 percent of its shots from the floor, including a blistering 78 percent (14 of 18) in the second half.
“You’re not going to win when you let someone shoot 70 percent against you,” McNeese State Cowboy head coach Dave Simmons said. “We just couldn’t stop them.
“It wasn’t one of our better efforts but we played hard. It looked like we were sleepwalking in the first half. They are a tough team in this building.
“They gave us the opportunity to take the lead late in the first half; we just didn’t take advantage of it.”
Toledo jumped out front early with its hot shooting, but a 14-2 run by McNeese in the last minutes of the first half enabled the Cowboys to go into the dressing room down by only two points, 36-34.
It still was a close game five minutes into the second half — Toledo leading 45-42 — but then the Rockets took control and with eight minutes left, were up by 10 points (58-48).
They then outscored McNeese 18-15 the rest of the way.
For the game, the Cowboys hit on 26 of 61 shots (43 percent), made seven of 18 three pointers and canned four of their seven free throws. They also turned the ball over 13 times.
Toledo hit on 27 of 44 field goals for the game (61.4 percent), made eight of 17 three pointers and 14 of 18 free throws.
Adrian Fields came off the bench to play a season high 30 minutes and joined Desharick Guidry as the Cowboys’ leading scorers with 11 points. Patrick Richard, the Southland Conference’s scoring leader, was held to 10 points, as he made only four of 17 field goal shots.
Also with 10 points was Jeremie Mitchell, while Dontae Cannon, the other double figure scorer for McNeese, was held to eight points.
Richard led McNeese with eight rebounds, and he also had a team-high seven assists.
Both Rudy Turner and Daniel Richard, two who did not play in the SLC championship game with Lamar, returned to the court on Tuesday. Turner played 17 minutes and scored six points and had a rebound and a blocked shot, while Richard played eight minutes and recorded two rebounds.
Toledo had the game’s scoring leader in Curtis Dennis, who totaled 18 points, while Rian Pearson scored 17 and had a game-high seven rebounds. Julius Brown had a double-double with 15 points and 11 assists.