LAKE CHARLES – A December 22 visit to perennial power North Carolina in addition to home contests against Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette highlights the 2012-13 McNeese men’s basketball schedule.
The meeting against the Tar Heels will be the first ever against the 2009 national champions and 2012 regional finalist who are led by legendary coach Roy Williams.
McNeese, 17-16 a year ago and Southland Conference tournament finalist, will open the season with a home game against Louisiana College on November 9 then will visit LSU on Nov. 13. The Cowboys will also play at Ole Miss on Nov. 20 and Texas Tech on Dec. 16.
The Pokes will host ULL on Dec. 8 and Louisiana Tech on Dec. 12 in the first of three games to be played in the Lake Charles Civic Center. McNeese will also host Stephen F. Austin (Jan. 30) and Northwestern State (Feb. 3) in the Civic Center.
“As, always we play a very tough non-conference schedule to prepare our team for a very tough conference schedule,” said head coach Dave Simmons who will be entering his sixth season at the helm. “With that in mind, we have scheduled one of the top programs in the country in North Carolina to go along with visits to LSU, Ole MS, Texas Tech as well as home games against Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette, in addition to a Sears Bracket Buster game.”
Other non-conference action sees McNeese visiting Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 15 in a return trip from last year’s Sears Bracket Buster game. The Cowboys will also host Centenary on Nov. 27 and the University of Texas-Tyler on Dec. 3.
Southland Conference play will get started on Jan. 3 at Northwestern State with the first home league game set for Jan. 7 against Nicholls.
A Feb. 23 Sears Bracket Buster game is also on the schedule as the Cowboys will travel to an opponent that will be determined later in the season.
The conference schedule moves back to a Thursday/Saturday slate that will include doubleheaders with the women’s teams. McNeese will also play every team in the league twice on a home-and-home basis including newcomer Oral Roberts who finished 27-7 last year and played in the NIT tournament.
McNeese losses all-American Patrick Richard but returns its next two top scorers in Dontae Cannon (11.5 ppg) and Jeremie Mitchell (10.8 ppg). Mitchell ranked third in the conference with 2.2 three-point goals made per game while Cannon ranked second in the league in minutes played (34.9) and fourth in free throw shooting (.800, 72 of 90).
The Cowboys will look to regain the services of Craig McFerrin, a 6-7, 230 pound sophomore forward who was lost after the Jan. 29 game against Central Arkansas due to a shoulder separation. McFerrin averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 17 games last season. Also, sophomore Desharick Guidry (6-5, 200) started 12 of the last 14 games of the season as a true freshman and scored in double-figures in eight of those.
Sophomore point guard Kevin Hardy (6-2, 180) averaged 13 minutes of playing time a game, as a freshman last year, sank 47.3 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range.
In the offseason, McNeese signed a couple of highly touted big men in Jordan Wells, a 6-7, 250 pound forward from Little Cypress-Mauriceville HS in Orange, Texas, and Austin Lewis, a 6-8, 215 pound post out of Westfield HS in Houston.
2012-13 McNeese Cowboy Basketball Schedule
Nov. 9 Louisiana College
Nov. 13 at LSU
Nov. 15 at Southeastern Missouri State
Nov. 20 at Ole Miss
Nov. 27 Centenary
Dec. 3 Univ. of Texas-Tyler
Dec. 8 Louisiana-Lafayette
Dec. 12 Louisiana Tech (LC Civic Center)
Dec. 16 at Texas Tech
Dec. 22 at North Carolina
Jan. 3 *at Northwestern State
Jan. 5 *at Stephen F. Austin
Jan. 7 *Nicholls State
Jan. 10 *Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Jan. 12 *Sam Houston State
Jan. 19 *Lamar
Jan. 24 *at Central Arkansas
Jan. 26 *at Oral Roberts
Jan. 30 *Stephen F. Austin (LC Civic Center)
Feb. 3 *Northwestern State (LC Civic Center)
Feb. 7 *at Sam Houston State
Feb. 9 *at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Feb. 16 *at Lamar
Feb. 19 *Southeastern Louisiana
Feb. 23 at Sears Bracket Buster
Feb. 28 *Oral Roberts
Mar. 2 *Central Arkansas
Mar. 7 *at Southeastern Louisiana
Mar. 9 *at Nicholls State
* - Southland Conference games
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