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Demons look to snap 3-game losing streak, hosts Campbell in ‘Bracketbuster’
Feb 18, 2012 | 469 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State tries to get over the hump Saturday afternoon at 2:30 in Prather Coliseum, hoping to shake a nasty shooting slump and a three-game losing skid against the country’s second-best shooting team, Campbell, in a Sears BracketBusters matchup.

The contest is the second game in a doubleheader that begins at noon with the Lady Demons playing host to McNeese.

Campbell’s Camels (17-11), one of the top teams in the Big South Conference, makes 50.2 percent of their shots, a rate bettered only by Creighton’s 51.1 percent. The Demons (14-12) rank fourth nationally in blocked shots per game (6.8) and 10th in steals per game (9.0), with senior center William Mosley (4.3) second behind Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis (4.9) in blocks per game. The 6-7 Mosley is eighth all-time in NCAA history with 443 career blocks and will move into seventh with his next rejection.

He’ll be battling 6-8 Campbell center Eric Griffin, whose 62.8 percent shooting percentage is the NCAA’s sixth-best. Griffin averages 16.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

In the last two games, the Demons have made only 34.5 percent of their shots including just 26 percent on 3-pointers.

In the last three halves, the second half of a 66-61 loss last Saturday at Southeastern Louisiana and Monday night’s 70-61 defeat by McNeese State, NSU has shot 31 percent overall and 19 percent behind the 3-point arc.

This came on the heels of a three-game stretch in which Northwestern made 50 percent overall and 49 percent of its 3-pointers. Adding to the perplexing situation, NSU has made 76 percent of its free throws in the last two games with its second and third-best performances of the season at the line.

“It must be something we ate, because everybody’s in a slump,” said junior guard Shamir Davis, the Demons’ leading scorer with a 13.3 average. “We’re shooting the same shots we’ve taken all season, driving the same way, but shots just aren’t going in. That’s going to happen at times in basketball. We know we can do better. We’ve been seeing zones all season, and we just have to come through and handle it better.”

One thing NSU is doing well: defending the 3-point shot. Over the last eight games, opponents are making just 26 percent of their 3-point tries.

Mosley and senior guard Louis Ellis are each averaging 10.8 points. Junior forward James Hulbin has averaged 10.3 per game in the last four games while hitting five of his 11 3-pointers. Ellis has hit 40 percent of his 3-point tries in the last six games. Natchitoches native Gary Roberson has a hot hand, making 52 percent of his shots, including 8 of 15 on 3-pointers, in the last five games.

The Camels are topped in scoring by sixth-man Darren White’s 17.0 average and 53 percent shooting aim, with freshman guard Trey Freeman pitching in 14.7 per game and shooting 88 percent on free throws, including a current school-record streak of 35 makes in a row.

Campbell shot 62 percent at Iowa in a Nov. 23 77-61 win over the Hawkeyes. Last year, the Camels won at Auburn.

The teams will meet for the third time.

Northwestern outscored Campbell 110-99 on Dec. 14, 1977 in Prather Coliseum, and the Camels evened the score a year later with a 67-64 victory in Raleigh, N.C. Current Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey was the Demons’ point guard in those games.

The game will be broadcast on the Demon Sports Network, flagshipped by 100.7 KZBL FM in Natchitoches .
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