NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State dipped its toe into Southland Conference play this past week, going 1-1 including a huge home win against Lamar on Dec. 21.
The Demons (3-7) will attempt to continue their holiday home cooking Sunday in their final non-conference game against Champion Christian in Prather Coliseum.
The 4 p.m. contest is a rematch against the Arkansas-based bible school that is an independent member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Junior Jairus Roberson scored a career-high 18 points in the 67-61 win against Lamar in which NSU erased a nine-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining.
Freshman Nikos Chougkaz set seven career highs in the win, including 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks. Chougkaz reached double figures for the fifth time this season but first time in five games. The Greek native scored double figures four times in his first five games.
The win was NSU coach Mike McConathy’s 650th career collegiate win, which leads all Louisiana college coaches. In his 21st season at NSU, McConathy has won 298 games and could get within one victory of 300 with a win Sunday.
The Demons’ victory also snapped a four-game losing streak in which NSU dropped all four games on the road, including losses at SMU, LSU and the league opener at Sam Houston State.
NSU won the initial meeting with Champion Christian 86-65 in 2018.
LaTerrance Reed led all scorers in this past season’s win against Champion Christian with 17 points, but Reed has missed five of the past seven games with a knee injury.
Four Tigers scored in double figures vs. NSU this past season, and two (Devoil and Reed) are back.
The Tigers (4-3), who will be playing an exhibition against its fourth Division I opponent this season, has played a total of eight exhibition games this season against NCAA opponents (four Division II opponents as well).
In its three previous contests against Division I opponents (Lamar, Abilene Christian and Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Champion Christian has lost by an average of 29 points.
The Tigers fell to Lamar, 86-40, and ACU, 90-58, before challenging UAPB in a 75-67 defeat.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Sophomore Trenton Massner has worked his way into the starting lineup as NSU closes its non-conference schedule against Champion Christian on Sunday.
CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services