Brian White and Jamaure Gregg led a cavalry charge as Northwestern State attempted to close the gap at UL Monroe on Tuesday, but the Warhawks fended off the comeback effort in a 77-69 Demons’ loss.
The Demons (2-4) scored nine consecutive points and ended the game on a 16-9 run, but NSU couldn’t slice the Warhawks’ lead closer than six points late.
Trailing by 15 points with 4:27 left, White and Gregg scored every point of a 14-4 run to cut ULM’s lead to 72-67 with 22 seconds remaining.
White pushed the tempo in the waning minutes as the Demons kicked into high gear after struggling from the field in the second half. The sophomore scored 11 of his 15 points in the final 2:06.
But the Warhawks (3-2), who entered the game shooting 57 percent from the free-throw line, connected on 18-of-22 attempts to protect its lead.
“We started making shots and making hustle plays against a talented ULM team,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “The play they got us back in the game was when Jairus Roberson chased down one of his own misses and found Chudier Bile on a dunk.
“That’s the mentality that we have to have, making those hustle plays.”
Roberson’s hustle play cut ULM’s lead to 59-44 near the eight-minute mark and started the surge that crescendoed in the final minutes.
Bile’s dunk highlighted a night in which he scored 18 points, including making 10-of-11 from the free-throw line as he attacked the much larger Warhawk front line.
The redshirt junior added nine rebounds and two blocks, helping an NSU squad on the interior that outrebounded ULM 42-36 and equaled points in the paint at 26-26.
ULM did its damage from deep as the Warhawks made 9-of-24 3-pointers, including eight in the first half.
Conversely, NSU made just 4-of-20 from behind the arc.
ULM guard Michael Ertel scored a game-high 22 points with four 3-pointers while usual leading scorer JD Williams scored all 17 of his points in the second half.
“I thought we did a pretty good job adjusting after they made eight 3s, which isn’t the norm for them,” said McConathy of a ULM team that was averaging five 3-pointers per game coming in. “We made only seven turnovers overall, but we made some in crucial situations by guys just trying to make a play.
“I’m pleased with the effort and the competitiveness we showed tonight.”
ULM led by as many as 11 in the first half behind the sharp shooting, and the Warhawks extended a nine-point halftime lead to 15 points in the opening five minutes.
Junior Jamaure Gregg scored a career-high 15 points, including four elbow jumpers, on a 7-for-7 shooting night. Gregg made just 1-of-7 from the free-throw line as the Demons (22 free throw attempts) crossed the 20-attempt mark for just the second time this season. NSU made 15.
Roberson added 10 points as he scored in double figures for the third time this season.
NSU continues its four-game road trip when the Demons play at SMU on Tuesday.