Demons wrap pre-Christmas slate with visit to No. 12/13 Baylor

WACO, Texas – The last time the Northwestern State men’s basketball team lost a game, it responded with a seven-game win streak.

The Demons saw that run end at Rice on Dec. 17, but NSU did not have to wait long to attempt to start another streak as the Demons head to No. 12/13 Baylor for a 7 p.m. matchup Tuesday in the Ferrell Center.

The game can be seen on ESPN+ while free streaming audio will be available on and through the Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded free for Apple and Android devices.

“These type of games, in my opinion, are fun,” said 7-foot-3 Demon center Jordan Wilmore. “There are guys who are close to my size. It gives me intensity and strength. It’s like a fun puzzle piece to play with them.”

The last time Northwestern State (8-3) faced a Big 12 team came Nov. 14 when the Demons downed then-No. 15 TCU, 64-63. Late in that game, Wilmore had a key offensive rebound that led to him hitting a go-ahead free throw.

Against TCU, Wilmore spent most of his time facing 6-11, 262-pound Eddie Lampkin.

The Bears (8-2), meanwhile, feature another big who approaches Wilmore’s size in 6-10 Flo Thamba. Thamba leads Baylor in rebounding (5.2 per game) and was a key part of the Bears’ 2020-21 national title team.

Against ULM on Dec. 10, Wilmore grabbed a career-high eight rebounds, including five on the offensive glass. A Missouri transfer, Wilmore leads the Demons in blocked shots (10), a total that places him second in the Southland Conference.

Like Wilmore, the Demons’ inward focus and dedication to a process helped lead them to their longest win streak in a decade, dating to a 10-game run from Jan. 19-Feb. 19, 2013.

Included in that run were contributions up and down the roster, including 30-point scoring games from DeMarcus Sharp (2) and Ja’Monta Black and double-figure rebounding performances from Jalen Hampton (2), Isaac Haney and Majok Kuath.

The Demons’ depth has been featured more prominently in the past two games with at least 14 players seeing action against ULM and Rice.

“Jordan Wilmore has the potential to be a defensive juggernaut,” first-year head coach Corey Gipson said. “Even when he doesn’t block a shot, he’s altering it because of his length. Then when they try to run through him, they find out he’s a brick wall.

“Rebounding-wise, he’s begun to focus on rebounding out of his area. He’s chasing balls. He’s always been great at batting balls, now he’s chasing balls. We have so many guys on this roster who are continuing to grow and do what they do best, and that’s be all-stars in their roles.