Lions use 3-point barrage to rally past Nicholls
Published 8:31 am Monday, January 24, 2022
The Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team drilled 17 three-pointers and rallied from a pair of double-digit deficits to defeat Nicholls, 101-93, Saturday at Stopher Gymnasium in Thibodaux.
Southeastern (10-10, 2-1 Southland) fell behind 32-20 in the first half before battling back. SLU shot 18-for-28 from the field in the first 20 minutes for 64 percent to take a 49-46 halftime lead.
Nicholls (11-9, 1-2 Southland) stormed back early in the second half. With SLU leading, 54-48, the Colonels went on a 16-0 run to retake a double-digit lead, 64-54, with 14:40 left in the game.
SLU came roaring back as they caught fire. The Lions shot 12-for-16 in the game’s final 14 minutes, including nine three-pointers. Southeastern also converted 16 out of 18 from the free throw line in the second half, totaling 22-for-25 (88 percent) for the game.
With the Lions leading, 87-84, Ryan Burkhardt and Gus Okafor hit back-to-back clutch three-pointers to give SLU a three-possession lead with 1:47 left. Southeastern finished off the comeback by making eight of 10 free throws in the final 1:30 of the game for the victory.
“That’s as close to a perfect game offensively as we can play,” said third year SLU men’s head basketball coach David Kiefer. “The team never panicked despite getting down and they kept fighting. We shared the basketball and got open looks and knocked them down when we needed to. It was a great win for the team and a remarkable effort top to bottom.”
The Lions had five players score in double figures led by Burkhardt with 21 points. The St. Augustine, Florida native knocked down seven three-pointers while snatching five rebounds.
Joe Kasperzyk came off the bench to score 19 points helping key both double-digit comebacks. Out of New Haven, Connecticut, Kasperzyk shot 4-for-6 from the field and 3-for-4 from behind the three-point line. The Lions’ junior was also 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
Okafor finished with 17 points including 4-for-7 from three-point range while Keon Clergeot chipped in with 12 points.
Jalyn Hinton was a force for the Lions on both ends of the floor scoring 13 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, with seven assists and blocked six shots adding to his conference lead. The Boston, Massachusetts native now has three-double doubles for the season.
Hinton’s six blocked shots was the most by a Lion since DeVonte Upson back on Nov. 6, 2014 in a road game at Oklahoma.
With Saturday’s performance, The Lions have scored 100 or more points three times in a season for the first time since joining the Southland prior to the 1997-98 season. The last Lions’ team to accomplish the feat was the 1994-95 team under coach John Lyles.
Saturday was also the first time SLU had scored 100 points against a Southland opponent since Jan. 17, 2015, a 108-98 win over UIW on the road.
Next up, SLU will return home to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (15-5, 2-1 Southland) Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the University Center.
Thursday’s game Will be televised on ESPN+ and can be heard online at www.LionSports.net/ListenLive.
HARDWOOD CLUB/S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the basketball program are encouraged to join the Hardwood Club. Lion alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners. All membership fees and donations to Hardwood Club are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern basketball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at email@example.com or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
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