Demons dumped 77-47 at UTEP
EL PASO, Texas – Northwestern State hoped for a turning point Saturday night at Texas-El Paso, but the Demons found only disappointment in a 77-47 loss.
The Miners (3-4) took control by pulling away from a 12-11 edge, going on a 13-2 burst to start a 25-9 run. The Demons (2-6 after their second straight blowout loss) never flashed the firepower to begin a recovery.
Posting their lowest scoring output this season for a second straight game, the Demons sank 35 percent overall and just 3 of 17 (18 percent) on 3-pointers, also struggling at the free throw line with 12 of 22 (55 percent) aim.
NSU had 14 of its season-worst 22 turnovers in the first half, falling behind 37-20.
UTEP overcame a bad start and sank 50 percent overall and 43 percent (9-21) on 3s. The Miners connected on 7 of 12 3-pointers after halftime.
The Demons were within 18 with 6:12 left but UTEP scored 10 straight points in a game-ending 13-3 burst that broadened the margin.
“This was a rough night, to say the least. It was an ugly ballgame on both sides,” said Demons 20th-year coach Mike McConathy.
“We practice every day, we work hard. But we don’t play with confidence, and it’s hard to develop when we’re not getting easy buckets,” he said.
NSU did not have a double-figure scorer. DeAndre Love led the visitors with eight points while Alex Comanita and Ishmael Lane each had seven.
UTEP got four players with 10 or more, led by Efe Odigie with 14 points and Jordan Lathon with 13.
The Miners won the board battle 40-30. NSU got only five offensive rebounds. Lane had eight defensive rebounds and no other Demon had more than three total.
“We aren’t rebounding, particularly on the offensive end,” said McConathy. “You’ve got to make shots and closer shots are higher percentage shots. We’ve got to get the ball inside and get to the basket.”
Compounding the frustration for NSU, freshman point guard Brian White appears to reinjure his ankle after scoring on a reverse layup in the second half. White missed NSU’s first seven games after hurting the ankle at an Oct. 29 practice.
“He’d gotten to where he didn’t have pain, and we were so excited for him to have the opportunity, but tonight he knew right away when he reaggravated it,” said McConathy. “We’ll get him checked out and hope for the best.”
Meanwhile, for the other 13 Demons, McConathy and his staff will focus Sunday’s practice on finding ways to reduce mistakes and missed shots going into Monday night’s visit to Texas A&M.
“We’re going to play A&M Monday, and we might only have one play, but we will be able to run one play,” he said. “Maybe what’s wrong with them is paralysis by analysis. We catch the ball and at times look like a deer in headlights. At this stage, that should not be happening.
“I’m frustrated with the fact that at some point, teams in the past got tired of what was happening to them, and bowed their necks and changed things. When this group makes that decision, we’ll get better.”
After Monday’s contest, NSU won’t play again until Dec. 12 at Texas Tech, then on Dec. 15 in Shreveport in the Shreveport-Bossier Holiday Classic at the Centenary Gold Dome against Southern’s Jaguars. The Demons’ next home game is Dec. 18 when Louisiana College visits.
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