Demons hold off Privateers, advance to SLC title game
LAKE CHARLES, La. – The No. 2 seed Northwestern State Demons held off a furious rally from No. 7 New Orleans as they punched their ticket to the championship game of the Jersey Mike’s Southland Basketball Championships presented by LouisianaTravel.com.
The Demons will take on top-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the championship game scheduled for 4 p.m. CT on ESPN2. It is the second-ever meeting between the Demons and Islanders in the championship game. The two squads met in 2007 with A&M-Corpus Christi earning an 81-78 win.
Southland Player of the Year DeMarcus Sharp scored 31 points with nine assists and two steals, while Ja’Monta Black scored 14 points with three 3-pointers. Jalen Hampton added 11 points and nine boards.
Tyson Jackson scored 19 points with four boards, while Khaleb Wilson-Rouse added 14 points with five assists.
Northwestern State came out firing in the first half as they jumped out to a 16-4 lead including back-to-back 3-pointer from Ja’Monta Black.
The Demons held serve as they pushed their lead out to 17 points in the first half behind big plays from DeMarcus Sharp.
However, New Orleans closed the half on a 9-0 to cut the deficit down to eight at the break at 36-28.
The Privateers carried that momentum into the second half as they held serve with the Demons in the first eight minutes, eventually cutting it down all the way to two points.
Northwestern State pushed it back to seven, but the see-saw battle continued as Jackson went to work in the paint and New Orleans came all the way back to tie it at 62 with under six to play.
Isaac Haney responded with a huge 3-pointer and Hampton followed with a lay up to move back ahead by five. The duo of Jackson and Wilson-Rouse got it back down to one, but Sharp again struck with a beautiful lay in along with a Hampton free throw to get the lead back to four.
The Privateers got a bucket, but Emareyon McDonald buried a triple with 1:07 to play to put the game out of reach for good.
Free throw shooting of the Demons carried the rest of the way as Northwestern State clinched their first Southland Championship Game appearance since 2013 when they last won the title.
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