Northwestern State dribbles out the last few seconds on the clock Wednesday night in a 66-54 victory at UIW, its first since Dec. 9.
Forward Ishmael Lane scored 22 points, and Northwestern State (La.) snapped a 17-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 66-54 victory over the Incarnate Word Cardinals.
Despite a season-high 19 points from Sam Burmeister, UIW lost its 17th straight, the longest skid in the school’s five-year history in the Southland Conference.
UIW freshman Augustine Ene started at point guard and scored a season-high 13.
Northwestern shot 51.5 percent from the field to seize a 38-32 halftime lead in a duel between cellar-dwellers in the SLC.
The game was played in UIW’s Convocation Center before a sparse crowd announced at 876.
Northwestern State 4-22, 1-14
Incarnate Word 5-20, 0-15
“We just got to play harder,” said Burmeister, who scored 16 of his points in the first half. “We made some wrong mistakes at the wrong time.
“Every time we got it to two or four points we either get a turnover or miss a couple of free throws, which essentially is a turnover, and they come down and score.
“Just got to keep working, try to get one win. We got three opportunities to get one win. We don’t want to go this year without getting a win in conference.”
Seven minutes into the second half, UIW guard Cody Graham suffered a broken front tooth on a nasty fall under the basket.
Graham drove hard to the goal and drew contact with a Demons player, before coming down hard and hitting his head on the floor.
“He kind of blocked it, and his body hit mine,” Graham said. “When his body hit mine, I turned in the air, and when I turned, I banged my head on the ground.
“Then I banged it again and I bit my lip.”
After the fall, play was stopped so that the trainer could attend to him. Then he walked off to seek treatment. Graham returned to the bench later to watch the end of the game.
“I’m not in too much pain right now,” Graham said later. “It’s just a weird feeling right now, missing a tooth. Hopefully the doctor can take care of it and it’s not too serious.”
Graham said he will see a doctor Wednesday. He said he hopes to play Saturday at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Northwestern State’s last victory came on Dec. 9 in Alexandria, La., against Louisiana College.
Coach Mike McConathy, who has led the Demons to three NCAA tournaments in the past 18 seasons, said it feels good to break the streak.
“It’s been a long dry spell,” he said. “It’s been difficult. Got a lot of young guys. You know, they continue to be coach-able. We not very pretty but we compete very hard.
“We’re just fortunate that we were able to do the things that we did (tonight). I felt like, defensively, we did a good job. I mean, I have utmost respect for UIW and the shooters they have.”
Northwestern held UIW to 30.4 percent shooting for the game, including 23.1 percent in the second half (6 of 26).
UIW guard Sam Burmeister sneaks behind the defense for a fast break layup in the first half.