Cowboys hold back War Hawks in Crosstown Showdown


ABILENE, Texas - Hardin-Simmons' men's basketball team held off crosstown rival McMurry 87-83 in American Southwest Conference action at a rowdy Mabee Complex on Saturday afternoon.

Christian O'Neal scored a career-best 29 points for the Cowboys on 11-of-15 shooting to pace the Cowboys.

Neither team led by more than a bucket in the early going and HSU led 15-14 with 11:24 to play in the first half when Caleb Spoon's 4-point play fueled a 11-2 run to give the Cowboys a 26-16 lead with 9:27 to play in the half.

McMurry never lost contact of the Cowboys and cut it to four on four different occasions. HSU led 47-42 at halftime. Darius Watts cut it 47-44 with a lay-up on the first possession of the second half that featured four offensive rebounds. The Cowboys answered with seven straight points, four by O'Neal, to push the lead to 54-44. McMurry came right back and scored eight straight to cut it to 54-52.

HSU again pushed the lead back out to double digits when Dashun Dixon scored eight straight for the Cowboys and Joe Hoeup had a 3-pointer to make it 72-58 with 9:22 to play. The War Hawks came back one more time with a 9-0 run and Krishawn Terry buried a 3-pointer to cut it to 84-83 with 1:40 to play.

Both teams missed on their next possession, including a big block by Justin Jones for the Cowboys. O'Neal calmly hit a 15-foot jumper with :29 to play to give HSU an 86-83 lead. Luke Stephenson missed a 3-pointer to tie the game with :18 to play and Caleb Spoon split a pair of free throws for the Cowboys to send the War Hawks home with the loss.

O'Neal's 29 points broke his career high he set in the previous game when he had 25 points. Duane Hopper had 16 points and eight rebounds and Spoon had 11. Nathaniel Jack had 10 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.

Darius Watts had 18 points for McMurry and LaRandall Scroggins added 14. Nate Estrada and Calvin McGee had 11 points each.

HSU has won eight straight games and is 14-4 overall and 8-1 in the ASC West. McMurry fell to 8-9 overall and 4-5 in conference play. HSU hits the road for ASC play at Mary Hardin-Baylor and Concordia next weekend.

Courtesy HSU Athletics.

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