NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) — Lance Potier scored seven of his nine points in overtime to lift McNeese State over Northwestern State 79-72 on Saturday in a Southland Conference opener.

The game was tied at 68 with 3:17 to play. Potier then scored seven of the next nine points for the Cowboys to give them a 77-72 lead with a minute left. Potier blocked a layup attempt on Northwestern State's next possession, and Howard Thomas made a pair of free throws to seal it.

Stephen Ugochukwu scored 19 points to lead McNeese State (4-8, 1-0).

Josh Boyd had 26 points, including 14-of-18 shooting from the line, for Northwestern State (6-6, 0-1), which made just 30 of 44 free throws (68 percent).

The Cowboys took the lead three minutes into the game and held it until Boyd split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 66 with 21 seconds left in regulation. The Cowboys' Kalob Ledoux missed a 3 for the win with five seconds to play and the game went to overtime.