NATCHITOCHES - A day after receiving his college degree in Prather Coliseum, Northwestern State senior center William Mosley celebrated in the same venue with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals Saturday while the Demons posted their best defensive performance since 1998, smothering Missouri Valley College 85-39.
The outcome was the fewest points allowed by the Demons, and their biggest winning margin, since a 97-37 victory over Belhaven on Dec. 18, 1998, and the best defensive performance in Mike McConathy's 13 seasons as head coach, topping a 62-43 win over Lamar in his second season, when NSU made its first NCAA Tournament appearance.
"We got into the passing lanes pretty good all afternoon and created some easy baskets with our defense," said McConathy. "When you have a player like Will Mosley in the middle, it's a great starting point. Other teams are very mindful that he led the nation in blocked shots last year."
Mosley matched his season's average of 4 blocks while equaling his season's best for steals and points. The 6-7 center had one of the most spectacular dunks of his career midway through the second half, when freshman guard John Brisco's crosscourt lob pass in transition was behind Mosley and outside the right side of the backboard, forcing an off-balance Mosley to catch the ball one-handed well behind his head, fully extended. He tomahawked the dunk.
"That might be my best one ever," he said. "But I am really proud of getting three steals."
James Hulbin added 13 points and Shamir Davis had 12 as NSU (6-5) shot 52 percent overall while holding Missouri Valley to 24 percent aim (12-50) and forcing 27 Vikings turnovers, coming up with 15 steals, three each by Davis and Mosley.
Ten of the 11 Demons who played scored and played at least 13 minutes. NSU won its second straight on the heels of a 76-63 win Thursday night at Louisiana-Monroe.
The Demons stay at home for a Monday night visit from Central Methodist at 7 in Prather Coliseum. NSU will wrap up a stretch of four games in seven days next Thursday against No. 18 Mississippi State in Jackson, the Demons' final pre-Christmas outing.
The game was recorded as an exhibition contest for Missouri Valley (4-7), which plays in the NAIA's Heart of America Athletic Conference.
NSU led 42-18 at halftime. The first of four dunks by Mosley came with 13:12 to go in the opening period and pushed NSU up by double digits to stay, 14-4. His tomahawk dunk with 11:45 to go created a 39-point lead, 66-27, and a Hulbin dunk with 7:43 left boosted the margin over 40 for the first time at 72-31.