Demons cap non-conference schedule with trip to Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The last long break of the 2022-23 season for the Northwestern State men’s basketball team – as well as its non-conference schedule – comes to an end Tuesday evening. 

The Demons (8-4) return to action after a seven-day break to face their lone Southeastern Conference opponent of the season, Texas A&M, at 6 p.m. inside Reed Arena. 

The game can be seen on the SEC Network. Free streaming audio is available on and through the Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded free for Apple and Android devices.   

Northwestern State last played Dec. 20 when they fell to No. 12/13 Baylor, 58-48, in a game where the Demons cut a 16-point second-half lead in half before eventually falling to the Bears. 

“These guys are so well-loved,” first-year head coach Corey Gipson said. “I know they would have loved to have been home with their families on Christmas day, but we’re a family here. Our guys understand that dynamic.” 

Tuesday’s game marks the third straight road game for the Demons, who return home Saturday to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Southland Conference opener for both teams.  

Ahead of conference play, however, lies the Aggies, who are coached by former NSU assistant coach Buzz Williams. 

Like the Demons, Texas A&M (6-5) is playing for the first time in a week, having suffered their first home loss of the season on Dec. 20, falling to Wofford, 67-62. The loss to the Terriers ended an overall seven-game home win streak for Texas A&M dating to a loss to LSU on Feb. 8, 2022. 

The Aggies enter Tuesday’s game as the SEC’s top team in both free throws made (19.0) and attempted (27.2) per game.  

“Iron sharpens iron,” Gipson said. “Competition expedites the growth of the organization. We’ve seen that come to fruition. We still have to grow in so many ways, even in conference play. We’re going from one season to another season. We have a mature enough group to understand what’s at stake.” 

A pair of veteran guards – DeMarcus Sharp (16.3 ppg) and Ja’Monta Black (14.4 ppg) – continue to lead the Demons’ offense while a third tri-captain, sophomore guard Isaac Haney, leads NSU and ranks fourth in the Southland Conference in steals per game at 2.0.  

Following the Demons’ loss to Baylor a week ago, Gipson praised his team for rededicating its efforts on the defensive end.  

NSU held the Bears to nearly 30 points below their season average and limited Baylor to its fewest points in a game this season. 

“Nothing really changes,” Gipson said. “We have to continue to grow together, stay together and keep the main thing the main thing as we always say. This will be a very good test (Monday). We’ll get there and have a good practice then deal with (Tuesday) when it gets here.”