CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – McNeese's biggest test of the season comes on the heels of a five-game winning streak as the Cowboys visit 23rd-ranked North Carolina at 11 Saturday morning on a nationally televised ESPNU men's basketball game.
McNeese (6-3) is coming off an 80-75 win at Texas Tech for the team's first win away from home on the season. Meanwhile, UNC (8-3) wasn't so lucky in the state of Texas as it dropped an 85-67 decision to the Longhorns on Wednesday in its last outing.
"Without a doubt the best team we've faced all season," said head coach Dave Simmons about the Tar Heels. "They have some very good athletes that like to push the ball up the court. We're just going to have to take our time with the basketball, not make any mistakes and take good shots."
Good shots are something the Cowboys have done a good job selecting during the winning streak.
In the last five games combined, McNeese has drained 51 percent of its shots from the floor, including 54 percent in the last two games. The Cowboys sank a season-high 55.9 percent at Texas Tech. McNeese has also seen its scoring output increase 14 points a contest over the last five games.
Leading the way individually are five players who are averaging double-digits in scoring on the season.
Sophomore forward Craig McFerrin, the reigning Southland Conference and Louisiana Player of the Week, is knocking in 16 points a game since his return to action against Louisiana Tech. Following him is sophomore forward Desharick Guidry at 13.2 ppg and a conference leading 9.3 rebounds per contest.
Guidry ranks 12th in the nation with five double-doubles on the season.
Senior guard Dontae Cannon folds in with 12.6 points a game while sophomore guard Kevin Hardy (10.8) and Jeremie Mitchell (10.6) round out the team's top scorers.
The Tar Heels, whose three losses on the season have come at the hands of Butler, No. 1 Indiana and Texas, have three players averaging double-figures in scoring.
Sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo, who has been named to the preseason Wooden and Naismith Award watch lists, tops the Tar Heels with 15.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Junior forward Reggie Bullock follows with a 12.7 per game average while sophomore guard P.J. Hairston is sinking 11.4 points a contest.
As a team, North Carolina is making 45 percent of its shots from the floor but just 36 percent from 3-point range. The Tar Heels are outrebounding their opponents by a margin of 44.7-38.7 and have forced their opponents into 17 turnovers a game.
North Carolina is a perfect 8-0 in the Dean Dome this season and has won 11 straight at home dating back to last season. The Tar Heels have not lost at home to a non-conference opponent since a 68-64 setback to Illinois on Nov. 29, 2005, a string of 62 straight wins.
Following Saturday's game, the Cowboys will take a break for the Christmas holidays and will not be back in action until Jan. 3 when they open Southland Conference play at Northwestern State.
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