Tough road trip brings out best in Pilots
November 14, 2005
Shreveport, LA---The competitive nature in athletes and coaches makes the old saying of “winning isn’t everything” hard to appreciate at times. The LSUS Pilots and Head Coach Chad McDowell just dropped a 99-88 decision to McNeese State University Thursday night, and received a 120-79 beating at the hands of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday night, but feel as though the trip was a total success.
“Before we left, we said that if we get better as a team and have fun, it will be a successful trip. Despite losing by 40 points to Arkansas, I felt we played better against them then we did against McNeese, and I am very pleased with our effort. I think playing in front of 10, 500 fans is an experience that our guys will remember for the rest of their life, and therefore, I think we can look at ourselves and say mission accomplished,” commented McDowell.
Of the many highlights on the trip, McDowell was very pleased with the play of three new faces on the Pilots roster; Josh Porter being one them. The 6’3 guard from Shreveport, LA transferred to LSUS for his junior season from Stephen F. Austin University. Porter averaged 20 points in the Pilots first two games of the 2005-2006 season, but McDowell felt as though he still had not seen the best of Porter. A 33 point performance which included 7-13 from beyond the three point line versus McNeese State University showed the Pilots just what he can do. “I was happy to see that after struggling from the field his first two games, he knew it was just a matter of time before the shots started to fall. I think this will be a huge boost of confidence for this young man because he showed what he is capable of doing on the floor versus very high caliber opponents,” said McDowell of Porter.
In addition to the play of Porter, McDowell had some new found success from the post position in Shadrach Roome and Jeremy Johnston. Roome, a 6’7 senior from Northeastern State University, connected on 6-8 from the field for 15 points versus McNeese, and was 6-7 from the floor for 12 points and added five rebounds versus the Razorbacks. In addition to the play of Roome, 6’9 senior transfer from Louisiana Tech University Jeremy Johnston added seven points and four rebounds off the bench at McNeese, and 15 points and six rebounds versus the Razorbacks. “Jeremy brings something to our team that we didn’t have before; game experience at the Division I level. We expected him to be a scoring presence on the inside, and he proved he can be just that on this trip,” said McDowell of Johnston. “The addition of Shadrach and his physical presence down low has also been a blessing. He showed he can bang with the big boys and still find a way to score which will open some better looks for our guards from the perimeter.”
LSUS now has an even bigger challenge to face as they are jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire as they will travel to Baton Rouge tomorrow to take on the LSU Tigers. “We are going up against yet another Division I powerhouse in LSU. They have the SEC freshman of the year in Glenn “Big Baby” Davis who will be a very tough test for our defense. We have some specific things we want to improve on and playing against LSU will make us work hard to do so,” concluded McDowell.
When all is said and done, McDowell and his LSUS Pilots are very proud of the way they compete on the floor with class and a true champion’s character. Despite being overmatched at times, the Pilots continued to play with pride and were rewarded by the recognition of the Arkansas crowd. One of the 10, 500 fans in attendance took the time to write a few words in reference to the Pilots performance. “I was at the ballgame tonight where your basketball team played against the Razorbacks. I was most impressed with your team's sportsmanship. When one of our players was hurt, two of your players went over to pat him on the back as he was taken off the court. One of our players went up onto the scorer's table and three of your players and your coach went over to help keep him from being hurt. They were getting beat and yet their integrity was apparent which in my opinion is worth more than the score. Your school should be proud of the way they were represented tonight in a basketball game.”
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