Scores

Final

SE Louisiana 49

(24-8, 13-3 Southland)

Northwestern St 42

(21-12, 13-3 Southland)

2:00 PM ET, March 13, 2005

Prather Coliseum, Natchitoches, Louisiana

1 2 T
SELA 24 2549
NWST 24 1842

Top Performers

Southeastern Louisiana: R. Woods 16 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Blk

Northwestern State: J. Wallace 12 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Northwestern State's winning streak ends in final

NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) -- By halftime, Southeastern Louisiana coach Billy Kennedy knew his team had a great chance of making its first NCAA tournament.

Ricky Woods scored 16 points and the Lions used a suffocating defense to win the Southland Conference championship game Sunday, 49-42 over Northwestern State.

"Every kid dreams about the chance to play in the NCAA tournament," said center Nate Lofton, who had 10 rebounds and nine points. "Our goal since last year was to win the conference championship, the tournament championship and go to the NCAA's."

Southeastern Louisiana (24-8), the tournament's No. 2 seed, ended a 10-game winning streak for top-seeded Northwestern State (21-12) by holding the Demons to their lowest point total of the season.

The Lions' 24 wins are the most in school history.

Now the team will face Big 12 Conference tournament champion Oklahoma State at the Oklahoma City regional.

Northwestern State shot just 29.8 percent (14-of-47), including 25 percent in the second half (6-of-24).

Though the game was tied at 24 at halftime, Billy Kennedy "felt great about the game."

"We had the tempo we needed and the guys were playing hard," he said. "There weren't a lot of possessions, so you have to give credit to the guys for how they played in the biggest game of the year."

Woods scored on a short jumper with 6:06 to play to put SLU ahead 41-32. Northwestern scored the next eight points and got within 41-40 on a putback by Clifton Lee with 3:20 to play. A putback by Woods increased Southeastern's lead to 47-42 with 35 seconds to play.

Northwestern lost its last chance for a comeback when Keenan Jones missed two free throws with 27 seconds to play. Terry Bryant added two free throws for the Lions to give them their final margin.

Jonathan Patton added 13 points for the Lions.

"I felt like our experience and grit would come through for us," Kennedy said. "We've played at some pretty tough places this year and I thought if we settled down and took good shots, we would weather the storm."

Jermaine Wallace led Northwestern State with 12 points.

"We had some solid looks throughout the game, but the shots just didn't stay down," said Northwestern coach Mike McConathy, whose team was in its third Southland Conference tournament championship game in six years. "They controlled the tempo and the end result was that they won the game."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SELA
NWST
Points 49 42
FG Made-Attempted 21-47 (.447) 14-47 (.298)
3P Made-Attempted 1-7 (.143) 3-16 (.188)
FT Made-Attempted 6-12 (.500) 11-16 (.688)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
Largest Lead 9 5

2004-05 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
Jan 15, 2005 @NWST 65, SELA 63Recap
» Mar 13, 2005 SELA 49, @NWST 42Recap