The Bearkats started hot but couldn't hold on late in the game as Northwestern State won 73-64.

The Kats got strong performances from James Thomas and Terrance Motley. Thomas had 16 points and four rebounds while going six-of-seven from the free-throw line.

Motley had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and he was five-of-seven from the charity stripe.

Nathaniel Mason chipped in 10 points with a pair of three pointers.

The Bearkats had a 33-28 lead at halftime but led by as many as 14 points during the first half. The Demons hit a three pointer with 40 seconds left in the half to cut the lead to five.

The Demons first lead of the night came with 9:13 left in the game as O.J. Evans hit a jumper. The Bearkats immediately retook the lead and grew it to as much as seven points.

"With about three minutes I told our guys that we are going to play 16 more games just like this," Jason Hooten said. "They're all going to be tough. That's just the way our league is."

Northwestern State then grabbed the lead with 3:04 on the clock and never gave it back.

DeQuan Hicks led the Demons with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Shamir Davis had 12 points, seven assists and four rebounds. James Hulbin had 14 points and eight rebounds while Jalan West added 10 points.

"I don't think we're going to play a team much more talented than these guys," said Hooten.

The Bearkats hit the road with a trip to Lamar Thursday night and McNeese State Saturday afternoon.