Men’s basketball victory guarantees No. 7 seed in the tournament

The Nicholls State University Men’s basketball team earned the No. 7 seed at the Southland Conference Tournament yesterday after a 64-45 win over Southeastern Louisiana University.

The Colonels (10-22, 6-12 SLC) advanced to the postseason game for the seventh consecutive year by winning the last home game of the season on Senior Day.

“I expect us to continue playing for each other, to go out there and play hard each night and come home with a
ring,” T.J. Carpenter said. “Nobody wants the season to be over with.”

Nicholls took a seven-point lead in the first half after both teams had committed 10 turnovers each. In the second half, the Colonels held the lions back to a 32.7 shooting percentage in comparison to Nicholls 39.3 percent. The Colonels scored 30 points in the paint, outrebound the lions 44-36, got 10 steals and forced 20 giveaways.

Two weeks earlier, Nicholls added a 17-game losing streak to their records with a 71-69 loss to McNeese State University on Feb. 27. This loss put the Colonels in a win-or-go-home situation, but they beat all the odds to guarantee their spot in the conference.

Nicholls defeated the University of New Orleans, won their first road game in 362 days against Central Arkansas University and surpassed the Lions in the regular season finale.

“I think that this team embodies the Nicholls’ spirit and what it means to be a Colonel.” head coach J.P. Piper said. “We fight, we scrap and we find a way to get things done. Our team demonstrated that spirit over the last week and a half wining three games when no one gave them a chance to win. That’s Colonel Pride.”

The Colonels’ senior guards Schane Rillieux and Carpenter assumed leadership positions in the locker room and put in the work that helped Nicholls to have a shot in the postseason play, according to Piper.

“We’ve been preaching the message all the year, telling the players what they are capable of and what we believe they could accomplish,” Piper said. “We tried to steer them in the right direction and they decided that they were going to do what they’ve been coached to do and the difference is really impressive.”

The Colonels defense played important roles for the late surge in the last conference games.

“We have taken [defense] as our identity now,” Piper said. “We’ve become a good defensive team. I think that is why we started wining and that needs to continue.”

Nicholls will next head to Katy, Texas for their first tournament match against No. 6 McNeese at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We are as good as any other team that we are going to face in the first round and I think we are very capable of going over there and winning the game, if we defend the way we did today,” Piper said.