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Southeastern basketball loses third straight with 88-77 loss to Nicholls
HAMMOND – The Southeastern Louisiana University men's basketball team led most of the way during the contest against Nicholls State, but an 18-5 Colonels run as the game got into its later stages turned a five-point lead into an eight-point deficit, too much for the Lions to overcome in an 88-77 loss Saturday afternoon at the University Center.
Southeastern enjoyed a good start as Roger McFarlane buried a three-pointer on the game's opening possession to give the Lions the early advantage. Nicholls scored the next five to take their first lead of the contest, but a Nick Caldwell shot in the paint started a 13-1 SLU run which gave the Lions its first double-digit lead of the contest as Brody Rowbury put back a missed shot to make it 16-6 Southeastern with 14:30 left in the first half. Matthew Strange made it an 11-point SLU lead with 12:00 to go before halftime as Boogie Anderson found him cutting baseline and he finished with a reverse layup, putting Southeastern up 22-11.
But Nicholls went on its first big run of the day to take the lead back, scoring 17 of the next 19 points to take a 28-24 lead with 8:30 left in the first. Southeastern answered with its own big run as a McFarlane jumper went down to send SLU off on a 20-4 run, giving the Lions their largest lead of the contest at 12 points, 44-32, after Strange sank a three-pointer with two minutes left in the period. Nicholls scored the next seven to cut the lead to five before McFarlane drained another three-pointer, but a 9-3 close to the period cut the Lions' lead down to six, 47-41, at the break.
Alec Woodard hit a three right out of halftime to get the Lions back up nine, and then Roscoe Eastmond answered a Nicholls three-pointer with one of his own to beat the shot clock buzzer, getting the lead back up to nine points at 53-44 with 17:10 left in the game.
But the offense started to slow as fouls crept upwards for multiple players, allowing Nicholls to go on a 13-4 run to tie the game at 57-57 with 14 minutes left. Southeastern reclaimed the lead as Anderson and Rowbury worked inside with an old-fashioned three-point play by Rowbury giving SLU a 64-59 lead with 11 minutes and 30 seconds left in the contest.
That's when Nicholls went on the deciding run, using the 18-5 burst to turn that five-point SLU lead into an eight-point Colonels advantage at 77-69 with less than five minutes left. Scores by Eastmond and McFarlane pulled the Lions back to within three at 77-74 with 3:30 left, but, with the score now 79-76 after a pair of McFarlane free throws, Nicholls hit back-to-back threes to push the deficit up to nine with just over 1:30 left, icing the game.
McFarlane had another solid outing, hitting eight of his 14 shots, including four of six from deep and both free throw attempts, to finish with 22 points and nine rebounds, both of which lead the team on the day. Rowbury came off the bench and hit all four of his field goal attempts and six of his seven free throw attempts to finish with 14 points and seven boards. Anderson and Eastmond both finished with 12 points, both hit on 50% of their field goal attempts, and both had three rebounds. Anderson had eight assists while Eastmond hit two of his four three-point attempts in the contest.
Four of the seven Lions who saw action in the contest finished the game with at least four fouls, including one foul out, a key factor during Nicholls' late run. Both teams shot for similar percentages with Nicholls hitting 47.7% from the field while Southeastern hit 47.3%. However, points off turnovers loomed large as the Colonels turned 19 SLU miscues into 26 points while Southeastern turned 15 Nicholls turnovers into 15 points.
The Lions (14-12, 8-5 SLC) will now look to end a three-game skid during the upcoming three-game road trip which starts on Thursday in Natchitoches as the Lions look to gain a split against current Southland Conference co-leaders Northwestern State. Tip-off against the Demons (18-8, 10-3 SLC) is set for 8:00 p.m. in the Prather Coliseum and will be live-streamed on ESPN+.
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