Demons hold off Oral Roberts for 87-83 road win - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Demons hold off Oral Roberts for 87-83 road win

Posted: Updated:

TULSA, Okla. --  Northwestern State did a lot of what it hadn't recently done well Saturday, with gritty defense and timely rebounding down the stretch helping lift the Demons to an 87-83 road win at Oral Roberts in a battle of the top two teams in the preseason Southland Conference basketball poll.

Jalan West scored 18 points with five assists, DeQuan Hicks had his second straight double-double and seventh of the year with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Brison White poured in 16 points and Zeek Woodley contributed 10 points and 6 rebounds for Northwestern (7-11 overall, 3-4 in the Southland).

In a contest with 12 ties and six lead changes, NSU got a pair of 3-pointers by freshman Sabri Thompson off West assists to escape a 78-all deadlock with 3:45 to go. The Demons, who continued their deadeye free throw aim by sinking 22 of 25, got a pair of Hicks free throws with 1:23 left for an 86-80 advantage. After 32-point scorer Shawn Glover bombed in a 3-pointer with 1:10 to go, NSU denied the Golden Eagles (10-10, 4-3) a tying trey as West's tight defense contributed to an air-balled 3 by Glover with four seconds left that could have tied the score. West added a free throw to salt away the victory.

"We've been through such a struggle, I can't underplay how good this win feels right now," said 15th-year Demons' coach Mike McConathy. "It's been as tough a stretch over the last three weeks, as frustrating as I can remember in my entire coaching career. These guys fought through,  bought into what we asked and got a very good road win here today where ORU has lost only three home conference games in two seasons."

The Demons withstood a blistering shooting display by the Golden Eagles in the first half, with ORU sinking 63 percent to overcome an 11-point deficit and post a 41-39 halftime edge. Afterward, the hosts made just 41 percent of their shots. NSU never trailed after Tyler Washington, one of 10 Demons to score, popped in a 3-pointer with 10:01 left for a 60-57 advantage.

The margin was as large as eight at 76-68 with 5:45 remaining but the Golden Eagles scored the next eight points to tie it 90 seconds later.

"We had ups and downs, and we kept our heads up, kept believing  in one another, and kept playing smart, tough basketball against a smart, tough opponent," said McConathy.  "Those two 3s by Sabri were really big and Jalan did a nice job of getting the ball to him. We had a lot of guys who made plays that contributed to this outcome and that makes it very gratifying."

Oral Roberts got 29 points, a career high, by guard Korey Billbury. The Golden Eagles had only a 34-33 rebounding edge with NSU getting 13 offensive rebounds after snatching only one in its last loss, to league-unbeaten Stephen F. Austin Jan. 16.

Hicks drained 11 of 12 free throws while six other Demons contributed to the 88 percent aim at the free throw line.

The contest came on the heels of a 76-68 win Thursday night at Central Arkansas that  snapped a three-game skid by the Demons, the preseason Southland favorites. NSU opens a four-game homestand next Thursday against league newcomer Incarnate Word, which moved to 4-2 in the league and 16-3 overall Saturday by beating Lamar.

"Now the challenge is to make this win really count. We need to build from it, we need to use this week as a springboard, and continue to improve," said McConathy.  "This isn't a cure-all but it's a big move in the right direction, when we really needed it."

After hosting Incarnate Word Thursday, NSU will face Abilene Christian, McNeese State and Nicholls State in Prather Coliseum to complete the homestand.

Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.