Winning for the seventh time in eight games, the Demons improved to 12-12 overall and 8-5 in the Southland. Northwestern shot 53 percent overall and outscored Lamar (3-22, 2-11) 48-24 in the paint.
Brison White and Zeek Woodley led NSU with 15 points.
Gary Stewart scored 13 while junior college transfer Ryan King had a career high with his first double-figure output, 12 points. Hicks and Jalan West each scored 10.
West enhanced his NCAA top 10 rankings in assists, with seven, and steals, making three, while turning it over just once.
But Hicks’ 11 assists, six over his previous career high, were also one more than West has had in any game this season and gave Hicks his ninth double-double of the year.
A 25-8 run early after halftime blew the game open.
Stewart drained three straight 3-pointers and King dumped in eight points to fuel the explosion.
Up 42-41, the Demons scored nine unanswered and the Cardinals were never able to get closer than eight afterward. NSU’s lead ranged between 11 and 21 points in the final 13 minutes, never under 16 in the last five minutes.
“On the fly, our guys made a really nice adjustment defensively in our zone, and we came up with a few steals and got some easy buckets,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “That was an awesome stretch of pretty basketball, defending, passing, getting in transition and finishing.”
Northwestern trailed much of the first half but recovered from a 27-20 deficit with a 10-2 run, and led 39-37 at halftime.
“Lamar was defending, playing hard, making great cuts, and the first half was such a struggle. We weren’t as ready to go as necessary but Lamar did a very nice job taking it to us. I’m so pleased with the way we pulled together and played unselfishly, aggressively, and smart to get it in hand after halftime," said McConathy.
The Demons used smothering defense that cooled off a hot-shooting Lamar team.
The Cardinals made 53 percent Thursday night in a hard-fought 78-69 loss to league-leading Stephen F. Austin, and sank 12 of their first 20 shots against NSU.
They were able to make only 12 of their last 43 shots and fizzled to 38 percent, becoming the sixth foe in the last eight games to shoot no better than 40 percent facing the Demons.
NSU also won the rebounding battle, 42-37, for the fifth time in six games.
King, Hicks and West each had six. The Demons, who had 10 turnovers at halftime, lost it only three times afterward.
It was the second of a month-long stretch of five consecutive road games for Northwestern, which plays at SFA next Saturday night and won’t be home again until March 6.