SHREVEPORT – Northwestern State fought off a strong effort by Division III Centenary Tuesday night, shooting 58.5 percent from the floor and pulling away for a 92-69 road win over the Gentlemen in front of 1,377, many of them Demon fans, at the Gold Dome.
NSU (3-7), winning its second straight after a 10-day layoff sandwiched around Christmas, led 45-34 at halftime, built the spread to 17 and weathered a Centenary run within 66-61. From that point, The Demons scored 12 of the next 17 points to start a game-ending 26-8 run.
Five Northwestern State players scored in double figures, led by the eighth-leading scorer in NCAA Division I, junior guard Zeek Woodley, who posted 20 points on 7 of 9 aim, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers. He also snatched 7 rebounds.
Freshman center Ishmael Lane missed only one of eight shots and recorded 15 points and a game-high 9 rebounds. Junior guard Sabri Thompson scored 14, as did freshman Malik Metoyer in his first double-digit scoring output. Sophomore point guard Devonte Hall, playing across the Red River from his hometown of Bossier City, posted 10 points and a game-best 7 points, more than his 5.7 average that ranks 40th in the country.
NSU sank 9 of 15 3-point shots and 31 of 53 overall.
The Gents, whose 7-3 record entering the game did not change since they counted the contest as an exhibition, picked up a game-best 23 points from sophomore guard Travion Kirkendoll, along with 14 apiece by Kendall Demouchet and Brandon Campbell.
Centenary remained in range most of the night despite making only 38 percent of its shots, just 4 of 27 on 3-pointers.
“There were stretches when we did some things pretty well, and definitely one of them was how we reacted when Centenary closed the gap on us in the second half,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “I thought Centenary competed very well, played a smart and tough game, and that’s what we anticipated. This was a good way to come off the break and get ready for the conference season.”
NSU opens Southland Conference play Saturday afternoon at home against Houston Baptist in a 3 p.m. game that follows a 1 o’clock women’s contest between the schools. Another Southland doubleheader follows Monday night with a 5:30 women’s tip and a 7:30 men’s start slated at Prather Coliseum as Sam Houston State visits.