Northwestern (10-11, 6-4 Southland) used West's third 30-point outing of the season, one point shy of his career best, to help make the difference along with a surprising 45-37 rebounding advantage. McNeese (7-15, 5-5) had outrebounded both of last week's opponents by 20-plus boards, but NSU got two career-high totals, 13 by senior DeQuan Hicks and eight from junior Ryan King, to lead the effort.
Hicks added 19 points for his 11th career double-double, his eighth this year.
Brison White scored 13 points, had five assists and two steals as the Demons won after 12 lead changes and five ties.
McNeese, which trailed for the last 12 minutes, was led by 23 points from Ledrick Eckles and 17 points and seven rebounds from Craig McFerrin. The Cowboys were stung by 23 turnovers as the Demons notched 12 steals by seven players.
West sank 5 of 8 on 3-pointers, continuing a torrid stretch in the winning streak, giving him 20 makes on 34 shots behind the arc in the last five contests.
He made 9 of 11 at the free throw line and was 8 of 18 from the field. His eight assists bolstered his 6.4 assists per game average that is 12th in the NCAA, and his four steals were better than his 2.6 average that ranks eighth in the country.
It was his 16th career game, ninth this season, with at least eight assists.
His two free throws with 12:08 remaining broke the final tie, boosting Northwestern ahead 53-51. The Cowboys stayed close before NSU ran off six straight, started by an offensive rebound and score by Hicks with 2:54 showing for a 75-69 advantage that was the largest of the night at that point.
West made a steal on the ensuing possession and fed White for a slam dunk to make it 77-69 10 seconds later, and Hicks canned a jumper out of a timeout with 1:56 to go to push the margin to double digits, 79-69.
Northwestern overcame its roughest shooting outing in the win streak, sinking just 40 percent overall. The nation's No. 2-ranked scoring offense was two points shy of its average.
McNeese shot 46 percent overall to keep in range.
The Demons wrap up a four-game homestand today at 3 p.m. in Prather Coliseum against Nicholls, which dropped to 7-3 in the conference standings after being routed at unbeaten league-leader Stephen F. Austin Feb. 6.