Privateers Win Eighth Straight in Thrilling Fashion

LAKE CHARLES (WGNO) – For the first time since 1996 the New Orleans Privateers (12-8, 5-0 Southland) have won eight games in a row after defeating McNeese (8-14, 2-3 Southland) 84-78 in a thrilling game televised by ESPNU on Sunday evening in Lake Charles.

A wild, and sometimes ragged first half, first half saw the Privateers rally back from an early 28-15 deficit to trail at halftime by a single score 41-38 to the Cowboys. Derek St. Hilaire was kept in check early with just a pair of first-half shots, and while Troy Green added 10 points, three boards, a pair of assists, and a pair of steals in the first frame. Both teams combined for 20 first-half turnovers.

The Privateers kept clawing in the second half. After a technical foul on the McNeese bench, Troy Green sank a free throw, before a steal and fast-break dunk by Simeon Kirkland cut the McNeese lead to just two points with just under 18 minutes to play. The Cowboys extended the lead again before St. Hilaire hit a step-back three and pair of free throws to again cut the lead to a single score 48-45 with just over 12 minutes to play.

D’Ante Bell scored in the paint, then grabbed a rebound on the other end leading to a Kirkland free throw opportunity that cut the McNeese lead to a single point. Big Sim came up huge again blocking a Bacon-Medley attempt that fell perfectly for a fast-break layup by St. Hilaire to give UNO a 55-54 lead with 12:30 to play in the game.

Cowboy junior guard Zach Scott knocked down a right-wing three giving the Cowboys a 62-57 lead with 9:42 to play. A patient St. Hilaire drove by Christian Shumate and his left-handed layup fell as he drew the foul cutting the Cowboy lead to two with 8:31 to play.

Green hit his eighth and ninth free throws of the evening to take a 66-64 lead with 7:25 to go after Rodney Carson picked Collin Warren. After missing a floater St. Hilaire grabbed his own rebound and stuck the ball back in once again tying the game at 70.

With the Privateers trailing 73-72 a pair of blocks were recorded by St. Hilaire, and Bell keyed a crucial defensive stop for UNO with 3:14 left. Green was relentless pulling down his own rebound among the trees and knocking down his di lui 10th and 11th free throws to give UNO a 74-73 lead. Green’s third steal of the contest and ensuing layup extended the Privateer lead 77-73 with 2:36.

St. Hilaire drove past Christian Shumate giving the Privateers a two-possession lead, 81-76 with 42.2 seconds to play. Jonathan Massie’s layup with 23.5 seconds left was as close as it would get for McNeese in the remaining seconds as the Privateers finished the comeback to win their eighth game in a row.

– After a first half with only two shots attempted, St. Hilaire came alive finishing with a team-high 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting. The graduate student added six rebounds and six assists as well. St. Hilaire finishes the week averaging 27.0 points per game.

Green finished with 22 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. It was the 14th 20-point game of his collegiate career. He was perfect at the free-throw line making 12-of-12. Troy tied Christavious Gill all-time in steals with the 169th swipe of his UNO career off Kellon Taylor with 2:29 to play.

– The St. Rose native also tied Nate Mills all-time in assists after finding Kirkland for a layup for the 361st assist of his career at 12:55 to play in the game. Late in the game, the St. Rose native found Tyson Jackson underneath the basketball to move into sole possession of seventh place all-time in dimes in school history.

– It’s the second time this season, and the third time all-time that both Derek St. Hilaire and Troy Green have both scored 20 or more points at the same time.

The Privateers’ streak of making more free throws (25) than their opponent attempts (21) continued for the sixth straight game against a Div. I opponent.

The eight-game winning streak by the Privateers is the longest for the program since Tic Price’s squad won nine straight in 1995-1996. The last time the team had ten victories in a row was in 1992-1993 when Tim Floyd’s men had winning streaks of 10 and 13 games. The 5-0 start in Southland play is the best start in league play since Floyd’s team went 18-0 in Sun Belt play that same season.

Coach Slessinger won his 143rd game and now trails Ron Green by three games (146) for the most wins all-time by a men’s basketball coach at the University of New Orleans.

The Privateers travel to the Dugan Wellness Center in Corpus Christi, Texas for a matchup with the Islanders on Thursday. The game can be viewed on ESPN + or heard locally and online on NASH 106.1 FM. Tipoff is set for 7:30 pm

{Press release courtesy of UNO Athletics}


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