LAKE CHARLES - McNeese State couldnt put away visiting Northwestern State Wednesday night but the Cowboys got a stop on the games final play and held off the Demons 83-81 in Southland Conference basketball. McNeese led by as many as 15 points with 9:52 to go, but the Demons had a chance to tie or win in the waning seconds. Trey Gilder tried a looping 17-footer that was tipped by McNeeses Quentin Gonzales and fell short of the rim with under three seconds left. NSUs Jerry Moody was able to tip the ball off the backboard and down to the rim, where it momentarily hung until spinning out in front of the basket, dropping into a group of players with nobody controlling it as the final horn sounded. It was the last twist in an odd ending. NSUs 21-point scorer, Luke Rogers, was fouled on a bid to tie the game on a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left, but as he prepared to try his three free throws, officials noticed a scrape on his hand and ruled him out of the game due to the appearance of blood. Senior Eric Woods, who had made 20 of 23 free throws so far this season, came in from the bench to replace Rogers. He made the first, but missed the second before sinking the last to get NSU within 82-81. Gonzales was fouled after the inbounds pass and made the first of his two free throws, giving McNeese the two-point edge, and the Demons rebounded his miss and moved upcourt for their final shot to tie or win. The Demons lost for the second time in three games, but only the second time in their last nine outings. It was the first win for the Cowboys in seven games in the series. McNeese (10-15 overall, 5-6 in the SLC) outrebounded Northwestern (13-11, 8-4) by 10, 37-27. The Demons sank 58 percent of their shots from the field, but had 14 of their 19 turnovers while falling behind 48-39 at halftime. NSU also shot just 63 percent on free throws and was outscored 25-17 at the line. It was the ineffective start to the game that most frustrated Demons coach Mike McConathy. "It was almost like we were saving something. There was a huge difference in the last six minutes because then our effort matched and at times surpassed what McNeese gave the entire game. We got up in the passing lanes and made some things happen finally, and gave ourselves a chance to win," he said. For McNeese, Jarvis Bradley led the way with 21 points while John Ford had 18. The Cowboys shot 47 percent overall but cooled off after a 53-percent first half, making 41 percent afterward as NSU tried in vain to overcome the lead. "They whipped us rebounding the ball. We only got four offensive rebounds, and that was a big factor in an area where we had 10 more two nights ago (in a 10-point win at Stephen F. Austin," said McConathy. "McNeese earned the win and we have to congratulate them and go forward hoping weve learned a lesson about the approach we need to bring to every game." Moody scored 15 and had six rebounds for NSU, with Kennan Jones adding 11 points and eight assists.