UTEP sank 59 percent of its shots to overcome 18 turnovers, and outrebounded NSU 41-31. Northwestern made only 4 of 20 on 3-pointers, otherwise sinking 23 of 48 shots inside the 3-point arc.
DeQuan Hicks led the Demons with 20 points, 12 rebounds, a career-high five assists and two steals.
Despite being face-guarded almost the entire game, point guard Jalan West had 14 points, five steals, grabbed six rebounds and extended a streak of consecutive free throws made to 20 in a row.
Freshman guard Zeek Woodley poured in 18 points, matching his season high, while Brison White added 12 points.
McKenzie Moore’s 17 points topped five Miners in double figures.
Moore was suspended for Monday’s 71-69 loss by UTEP to New Orleans but sank 10 of 14 free throws against Northwestern.
The Demons (4-7) trailed by 13 at halftime, after the Miners (6-5) scored the last 10 points to grab the upper hand. NSU got within six twice after halftime, but couldn’t get closer.
“They were just too big, strong and physical. We hung around, we played hard, but we didn’t make shots. We didn’t turn it over very much (9 total), but we had a couple costly ones down the stretch,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “Our guys laid their hearts out there tonight, but we didn’t perform to the level we did last night at (12th-ranked) Baylor (in a 91-84 overtime loss).”
NSU posted overall 39 percent shooting aim.
The Demons did sink 16 of 21 free throws, with Woodley going 6-for-6, but McConathy wanted his smaller club to be more effective going to the basket.
“UTEP did a nice job of drawing the contact as they attacked the bucket, and so they got to the free throw line 10 more times than we did, which was a factor,” he said. “Tim Floyd, as he always does, had a great game plan. We weren’t surprised they face-guarded Jalan and I thought we handled that pretty well, we just did not make the outside shots, especially the 3-pointers, enough to get over the hump.”
The Demons won’t play again until they open Southland Conference competition at home with two games, Jan. 2 against Sam Houston and Jan. 4 against Lamar.