Northwestern State tops McNeese State 96-89 in Southland

KATY, Texas (AP) — Zeek Woodley scored 34 points, two off a career high, and fourth-seeded Northwestern State ran away from fifth-seeded McNeese State 96-89 to advance in the Southland Conference tournament on Thursday.

Northwestern State (19-11) will face No. 1 seed Stephen F. Austin (27-4) on Friday in the semifinals.

Woodley was 14 of 17 from the floor with three 3-pointers and nine rebounds.

McNeese State (15-16) was led by Kevin Hardy with 25 points. Keelan Garrett and Desharick Guidry had 20 apiece. The Cowboys made the first shot of the day, but never tied or led again.

Woodley’s dunk with 28 seconds left in the first half put Northwestern State up 41-34 at the break. The lead exploded to 13 just 1 ½ minutes into the second half after 3s by Ta’Jon Walker and Jalan West, sandwiched around another Woodley dunk. West finished with 24 points and 12 assists.

A 10-point run later in the half pushed the lead over 20 points. McNeese scored the last 10 points of the game to make the score respectable.