The Demons improved to 14-6 overall and 8-2 in the conference as Brison White scored 13, Shamir Davis 11 and Gary Stewart 10, and Jalan West recorded a career-best nine assists.
The Demons followed with an 8-0 run to go up 15-10 after taking advantage of three straight McNeese turnovers but after leading 17-12, McNeese cut it back to 19-18 with 8:33 to play. The Demons then went on a 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the game at 26-18 with 5:37 after a Davis free throw.
NSU, sweeping the season series with McNeese for the first time since 2006, led all but two minutes of play, building a 42-28 halftime advantage despite 37 percent shooting. The Demons sank 52 percent afterward, but so did the Cowboys, who trailed by 69-50 with 8:12 remaining but fought back within 80-73 with 1:12 to go.
NSU sank six straight free throws, four by Hicks, after McNeese closed the gap to seven. The Demons, shooting 67 percent at the line this season, drained 24 of 29 Sunday, including 15 of 17 in the second half. Davis went 8-of-10 while Hicks hit all six of his tries.
McNeese slipped to 8-12 overall and 2-8 in Southland play despite 22 points from Dontae Cannon and 15 from Craig McFerrin, while Desharick Guidry and Adrian Fields each scored 12.
Northwestern kept pace with the league co-leaders, Stephen F. Austin and Oral Roberts, both at 9-1 in Southland play. The Demons host ORU Thursday night at 7:30 in Prather Coliseum.
In addition to Thursday night’s home game against Oral Roberts, Northwestern will host Central Arkansas next Saturday afternoon before a stretch of five straight road games.