The Northwestern State basketball team is finally home and nearly at full strength heading into two Prather Coliseum appearances, the first Friday evening at 6:30 against Alabama A&M.
The contest is the final for both teams in the five-game Men Against Breast Cancer Cougar Cup multi-team event. NSU ends a string of four consecutive road games, all defeats, bringing a 1-4 mark into the contest against the Bulldogs (0-4), who haven’t played since a 91-60 loss last Saturday at BYU.
The Demons remain at home next Tuesday to face neighborhood rival UL Monroe.
In their last three outings, the Demons have been hit by onslaughts after halftime that blew open contests at BYU, Rice and Houston. Those have spoiled solid stretches of play during the first half in each contest.
Coach Mike McConathy is hoping that playing a third game with a 13-man roster will provide some continuity for NSU, which picked up veterans Brandon Hutton, DeAndre Love and Jacob Guest in last weekend’s two-game swing through Houston.
Love has started his senior season with strong shooting in two games, averaging 11.5 points while making 10 of 16 overall including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers.
Senior forward/center Ishmael Lane, despite two straight subpar offensive outings at Rice and Houston, tops NSU with averages of 14.6 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Junior transfer John Norvel, who has not played since his senior season at Salmen High School, has made 10 of 23 from behind the 3-point circle and is scoring 9.0 per game.
Alabama A&M has three double-figure scorers, led by Jalen Reeder at 10.5 per game.
NSU is one player away from having a full roster for the first time since the 2015-16 season opener. Freshman point guard Brian White is recovering from a sprained ankle and hasn’t played yet this season, but is expected back soon.