New Orleans (14-12, 11-4), which won the conference last year, remains 1.5 games behind league-leading Nicholls. The victory gave the Privateers 800 wins in program history.
Puou, who was 9 of 12 from the floor to total 23 points, also grabbed eight rebounds. Thibodeaux hit 8 of 16 field-goal attempts to total 18 points while dishing out seven assists. Bryson Robinson had 14 points and Lamont Berzat added seven points with six assists and four steals for New Orleans.
The Privateers had a slim 33-32 halftime advantage but quickly turned that into a 62-42 lead midway in the second half and cruised to the win.
Quatarrius Wilson had his fifth consecutive double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds for McNeese (9-15, 6-8).
With some colleges looking into possible revenue from legalized sports betting, the NCAA says it remains opposed and has begun examining the long-term effect betting could have on college sports.
North Carolina will take on Texas in one semifinal of the Las Vegas Invitational, and Michigan State will face UCLA in the other.
Clemson coach Brad Brownell has received a new six-year contract that will pay him $15 million through 2024.
|Stephen F. Austin||14-4||1||28-7|
|Sam Houston St||12-6||3||21-15|