Baylor (9-1, No. 12 in the AP Top 25, 15th in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25) nearly became NSU’s second-ever nationally-ranked victim but the Demons (4-6) faltered ever so slightly in OT and couldn’t contain Chery, who finished with 20 points and a game-high 10 assists.
Northwestern became the first team this season, including three Top 25 foes (Syracuse, Kentucky and Colorado) to outrebound Baylor (38-36), helping the Demons hang close. Sophomore guard Jalan West forced overtime with a 22-foot 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds to go in regulation, forging a 76-all tie.
West topped all scorers with 26 points, adding eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals while playing all 45 minutes. The Demons got 15 points from senior forward DeQuan Hicks, who had a team-best eight rebounds along with three assists and two steals. True freshman guard Zeek Woodley also scored 15 while senior guard Brison White contributed 11.
NSU sank 49 percent of its shots to 51 percent by Baylor. Cory Jefferson topped the Bears with 22 points and 10 rebounds, a total matched by teammate Rico Gathers, who scored 19. Gary Franklin added 11 for the Bears, who turned it over just 10 times to 12 for the Demons.
Both teams rallied from nine-point deficits in regulation. NSU surged up 24-15 midway through the first half before a 38-all halftime stalemate. Baylor was up 54-45 but the Demons rallied within a point and finally drew even on West’s 3-pointer off a Hicks assist.
Chery missed a running one-hander from five feet away and Baylor couldn’t convert on an offside putback just before the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
Baylor led 82-80 before Chery hit a driving layup with 1:49 to go, then cashed in a Demons' turnover with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 45 seconds left to open an 87-80 advantage. NSU missed a 3-pointer on its next possession and could not get closer in the last half-minute.
“We played a very solid, tough game against a very good basketball team, and they made a few more plays in overtime than we did,” said Demons’ coach Mike McConathy. “They won the game. We didn’t lose it. Our guys made a lot of plays to give us the chance to walk off winners, and I am proud of them for that and for the way they competed.”