The women’s game tips at 5:30 with the men’s contest slated for a 7:30 start. McCain’s NAPA Auto Parts is the game sponsor and is providing 1,000 tickets, with two free tickets per person available by clipping and presenting a voucher in this edition of the Natchitoches Times. Tickets will also be provided to local school groups and the Boys and Girls Club, courtesy of McCain’s.
The NSU student body is back on campus for the spring semester. A Greek organization tailgating party will be held in front of Prather Coliseum from 5-6 Thursday. NSU students are admitted free with presentation of current student IDs.
It’s the only home basketball action for NSU until Jan. 30, when a four-game homestand begins.
The men’s game matches the teams who finished 1-2 in the 2013 regular season and met for the conference championship last March. The three meetings last season were each decided in the final 10 seconds of play, by a combined total of seven points, with NSU winning the rubber match in the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
SFA (15-2 overall, 4-0 in the conference) is led by the Southland Conference Player of the Week, sophomore Thomas Walkup, who averaged 24 points and six rebounds a game in wins last week at Houston Baptist (77-50) and A&M-Corpus Christi (80-70). He sank 18 of 26 shots from the field and 10 of 11 free throws.
The Demons (5-10 overall, 1-3 in the Southland) have three of the top six scorers in the conference in Jalan West (18.9 points per game), DeQuan Hicks (16.4) and Zeek Woodley (16.1). West leads the league in assists (6.1 average) and steals (2.7). Emerging as a candidate for Freshman All-America status, Woodley has averaged 23.3 points and made 38 of 48 shots in conference play.
Northwestern leads the nation in scoring (89.7 points per game). Woodley, a 6-2 freshman, is second nationally with his overall 66.7 percent shooting aim while West, a sophomore point guard, is eighth in the country in steals and 22nd in assists per game. He also ranks in the Top 75 in assist to turnover ratio (56th, plus 2.5) and free throw percentage (72nd, 85.7).
The Lady Demons (9-7, 2-2 SLC) hope to hand Southland Conference leader Stephen F. Austin (10-6, 4-0 SLC) its first league defeat of 2014. The Ladyjacks come to Natchitoches on a seven-game win streak. Northwestern has victories in four of its last six.
Keisha Lee continues to lead NSU in scoring at 15.6 points per game. Trudy Armstead is tops in rebounding with 5.8 boards a game.
Porsha Roberts is the SFA team leader in points (15.1 ppg) and Tierany Henderson rebounds best (7.9 rpg) for the Ladyjacks.
SFA has won 52 times in the 70-game series, which has proved to be a key in the Southland Conference title through the years.
The doubleheader will be broadcast on the Demon Sports Network, flagshipped by 100.7 FM KZBL in Natchitoches and including 99.9 KTEZ FM in Many and 92.1 KSYR FM in Shreveport. A free webcast is available at NSUDemons.com along with a live video stream, which can be purchased.