Lions host league-leading UNO on Thursday, 2nd place Nicholls for Saturday’s Senior night

Published 3:35 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2022

The Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team wraps up the home portion of its schedule this weekend as it hosts Southland Conference-leading New Orleans Thursday at 8 p.m. and second place Nicholls Saturday at 4 p.m. for Senior Night.

SLU (15-13, 7-4 Southland) enters the week a game and a half out of second place behind Nicholls (18-9, 8-2 Southland) in pursuit of a double bye in the Southland Conference Tournament beginning Wednesday, March 9 in Katy, Texas.

The Lions split road games last week as they beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 83-74, Thursday night but fell to UIW 92-74.

Despite the loss to the Cardinals, Southeastern drilled 11 three-pointers as it set the all-time program record for three-pointers in a season with 254. The previous record of 250 was held by the 2017-18 Lions under former head coach Jay Ladner. SLU is 34 three-pointers short of breaking the all-time Southland record of 287 set by Sam Houston in 2010.

Southeastern is led by Gus Okafor in scoring, averaging 15.0 and 6.3 rebounds per game. The Baltimore native scored a career-high 32 points in SLU’s win over A&M-Corpus Christi while scoring 19 in the loss to UIW.

Senior Jalyn Hinton continues to lead the conference in field goal percentage and blocked shots (58). Out of Boston, Hinton is shooting 72.6 percent (63-for-87) from the field during Southland play. For the season, Hinton has made 64.4 percent of his shots which is fifth in the country.

SLU will look to even up the score Thursday against UNO (16-9, 9-1 Southland) as the Privateers defeated the Lions, 78-72, back on Jan. 20 in New Orleans. SLU had a 44-30 lead late in the first half before the Privateers rallied to edge the Lions. However, Southeastern has won three of the last four meetings at the University Center, including a 79-73 victory last year in Hammond.

The Privateers lead the Southland in field goal percentage, shooting 47.4 percent as a team. Derek St. Hilaire, the conference’s leading scorer, is averaging 20.8 points per game this season and is shooting 82 percent from the free throw line (105-for-128).

After Thursday’s matchup, Southeastern will take on Nicholls for Senior Night as Hinton, Okafor, Keon Clergeot and Ryan Burkhardt will be honored in a pregame ceremony.

Burkhardt, out of St. Augustine, Florida, had made 69 three-pointers this season for the Lions which is second in the conference. The North Florida transfer is shooting 42.6 percent from behind the three-point arch (69-for-162).

Clergeot, the Southland Player of the Week for Jan. 10, has scored 739 career-points for the Lions in just two seasons. The Winter Haven, Florida native led the Southland in free throws made last season with 154 and has converted 96 times from the charity stripe this season.

SLU will eye their third straight win over Nicholls after beating the Colonels 77-72 in the Southland Tip-Off title game Jan. 8 in Katy, Texas. The Lions followed that up with a win over the Colonels on the road, 101-93, on Jan. 22 as SLU hit 17 three-pointers.

The Colonels are led by reigning Southland Player of the Week and preseason Southland Player of the Year Ty Gordon. The Tunica, Mississippi native scored a career-high 31 points in Thursday’s win over McNeese and 28 points in Saturday’s victory over HBU. Gordon is averaging 20.2 points per game this season, second in the conference, while leading the league in three-pointers with 83.

Fans can watch Thursday’s game on ESPN+ with a video link available at the Southeastern men’s basketball schedule page at LionSports.Net. Live stats will be available for both games at the SLU schedule page.

HARDWOOD CLUB/S CLUB

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