SAN ANTONIO – Northwestern State has had issues finishing games during its three-game losing streak, but on Thursday, the Demons made sure the finish didn’t matter.
NSU surged early in the second half, outscoring Incarnate 27-6 in the first 11 minutes of the period en route to an 88-64 win on the road, snapping the three-game skid.
That surge swallowed up all the second half as the Demons outscored UIW 46-24 in the second half to stretch their two-point halftime lead.
“We pushed the ball, and we did a great job guarding their stuff,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “UIW did miss some shots, but I thought our depth and our length wore them down.
“We made a shot or two, but I didn’t think our shooting was exceptional. But I’m proud of all these guys, and we battled back in the second half after being down in the first half and not playing very pretty basketball.”
Carvell Teasett made his two 3-pointers in the second-half run while Kendal Coleman scored six of his 20 points and snatched eight of his 10 rebounds.
Coleman has six 20-point games this season and his 12th double double in his last 17 games (eight against 12 SLC opponents).
Jalen King capped the run with consecutive buckets as UIW floundered to a 2-18 start from the field in the second half.
King (11 points) and Teasett (10 points) joined Cedric Garrett (14 points) and Coleman in double figures as the Demons shot 58 percent from the field in the game. That performance is the second best this season.
For King, it’s his first double-digit performance since Dec. 11 against Dallas Christian.
“I’m really proud of Jalen,” McConathy said. “He didn’t have a good week last week, and we talked to him almost every day, but he worked through it.
“He was aggressive defensively and did good things in other areas.”
Add in Garrett’s 14 points and Jovan Zelenbaba’s seven points, and NSU received 32 points from that trio.
The win is the third against UIW this season, but the 24-point victory is the largest as the other two combined were 12 points. It’s the first time NSU has beaten the same opponent three times in a season since 2014-15 (McNeese).
The Demons finish the road trip Saturday at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 5 p.m. tip.
The Islanders (16-10, 3-6 SLC) are mired in a five-game losing streak after falling to Southeastern at home.
UIW was led by 18 points from Brandon Swaby with Josh Morgan (14) and Drew Lutz (13) contributing. But Lutz was scoreless in the second half and Morgan scored just one point.
The Cardinals were held to 34 percent from the field.
NSU built a +11 rebound edge thanks to seven from Robert Chougkaz, six from Larry Owens and five from Shaun Riley.
After slogging through turnovers and missed shots early, NSU found its offensive gas, scoring 29 of its 42 first-half points in the last 11:30.
The Demons shot a blistering 60 percent (18-30) led by 11 points from Garrett.
Garrett sunk three straight 3-pointers as he went on a 9-2 run by himself, handing NSU a 29-28 lead in the process.
It was the Demons first lead since a 4-3 early tally before UIW broke away on a 6-0 run and led by as many as seven points.
UIW shot just 37 percent from the field (13-35) in the first half, but the Cardinals supplemented with 9-10 from the free-throw line compared to just 1-1 for NSU. The Demons made 7-8 overall.
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