San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - In the midst of a nine-game run on the road, the McNeese State Cowboys find themselves facing off against 24th-ranked San Diego State in non-conference play tonight.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, 2013-14 has not started out all that great, with the team winning just twice in 10 chances and those victories coming against the likes of Louisiana College and Stillman College. On Tuesday night, McNeese was dealt a 64-50 setback by Louisiana Tech, the fifth straight loss for the program.
As for the Aztecs, since losing to nationally-ranked Arizona in the second game of the campaign, 69-60, they have ripped off seven consecutive victories and now have eight in nine games overall. The team took advantage of Southern Utah at home just three nights ago by crushing the Thunderbirds in a 76-39 final. The defensive effort by SDSU was the best of the season, eclipsing the meetings against UC Riverside and San Diego Christian in which the opponents tallied just 41 points each time out.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, San Diego State won the only previous meeting, 91-85, in Las Vegas back in 1984.
The Cowboys had very little to cheer about during their loss to Louisiana State earlier this week at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston. Ledrick Eackles did come up a rebound shy of a double-double as he tallied 11 points, but he was the only player to reach double figures in scoring. Craig McFerrin accounted for a team-best 10 rebounds and also posted seven points, but he shot just 3-of-10 from the floor as the team ended up with just 33.3 percent accuracy from the field and had more turnovers (19) than baskets (18).
Eackles accounts for a team-best 14.4 ppg and is also second on the unit with 29 assists, but he has knocked down a mere 30.8 percent of his field goal attempts, dragging the rest of the unit down to only 38.5 percent from the floor. Kevin Hardy accounts for 12.1 ppg and a team-best 7.3 rpg, but still the Cowboys are being beaten on the glass by almost seven per game.
Putting together one of their best defensive efforts ever under head coach Steve Fisher, the Aztecs allowed just one Southern Utah player to score in double figures, not to mention a grand total of 12 made field goals during the rout. On offense, it was Xavier Thames who took the lead with 16 points, followed by Aqeel Quinn who not only tallied 14 points, he also logged seven rebounds. Posting his third double-double of the season and the 34th of his career, Josh Davis was responsible for 13 points and 14 rebounds according to the box score.
Thames has asserted himself as the top scoring threat for the Aztecs so far this season with his 17.4 ppg, shooting a sensational 52.5 percent (21-of-40) behind the 3-point line, which is much greater than his 46.9 percent effort from the floor overall. Winston Shepard is listed as the second-leading scorer for the team with 11.8 ppg, but he missed the last outing and is still listed as questionable heading into the weekend due to disciplinary issues. Defensively, SDSU has been holding foes to just 56.4 ppg.