Getting there was a lot of fun, but University of Arkansas basketball signee Cyrus McGowan was not pleased with the result.
McGowan, the 6-9, 235-pound power forward from Meridian, Miss., led his team to the Mississippi Class 5A state title game, but endured a foul-plagued game in a 74-62 loss to Jackson Murrah in the finals.
After averaging 10 points and 15.6 rebounds this season, McGowan had just two points and 10 rebounds in the final before fouling out for a team that finished 28-9.
"That was tough," McGowan said. "We had such a nice season, but to have it end like that was really frustrating. Especially when the referees called the fouls they did and I couldn't help out as much as I would have liked."
McGowan, a very good student considered a work-in-progress on offense, came alive offensively during the middle of the season and averaged close to 15 a game during a 10-game stretch.
"I did get better offensively, but I always still concentrated on my rebounding and my defense," McGowan said. "(UA head basketball) Coach (Stan) Heath tells me that is what is going to earn me playing time next year and the offense will come."
He did impress Heath by nailing four straight free throws to win a postseason game in front of the coach.
McGowan, who also took visits to Mississippi State and Georgia Tech, is not sure when he will arrive on campus this summer, but looks forward to coming to help the program.
"I think I can help with the rebounding, something that Coach Heath is stressing to me to come in and concentrate on," McGowan said. "I'm not sure when I will get up there, but I am going to come in and work hard."
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