Free throw shooting costs Lions in 55-53 loss to Nicholls

HAMMOND, LA - Nicholls State capitalized on poor free throwing shooting by Southeastern Louisiana to claim a 55-53 Southland Conference victory Saturday night at the University Center.

Sam McBeath led Nicholls State (5-13, 1-5 SLC) with a total of 16 points while Dantrell Thomas added 14.  Jeremy Smith added eight points on 4-for-4 aim from the floor as the Colonels claimed their first win in Hammond since a 68-65 victory on Jan. 31, 2009.

Southeastern (7-10, 1-4 SLC), which finished 7-for-21 from the free throw line, took a 51-48 lead with 1:56 remaining on a basket by Elgin Bailey before the Colonels tied it up when McBeath drained a 3-pointer from the right corner at the 1:44 mark.

After Bailey missed a pair of free throws with 1:27 remaining, Smith drove the lane and scored on a layup that gave the Colonels a 53-51 advantage with 59 seconds left.

Bailey scored and was fouled on Southeastern's next possession, but missed the potential go-ahead free throw with 44.4 seconds left before Hammond's eventual game-winner on the Colonels' ensuing possession.

Southeastern had a chance to win the game at the buzzer as Jeremy Campbell missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Roosevelt Johnson grabbed the rebound and his potential game-tying bucket was waved off after a review by the officials.

Both teams battled through 10 ties and seven lead changes in the game with Southeastern taking the biggest lead of the game – six points – on Johnson's jumper in the lane that gave the Lions a 32-26 lead with 14:52 remaining.

The Colonels built a 9-4 lead in the first half on a basket by Hammonds with 14:49 left before Southeastern tied the contest on a 3-pointer by Campbell and a pair of free throws by Daron Populist.

Campbell led Southeastern with 16 points – one off his career high set on Nov. 26 at Western Kentucky – while Populist and Bailey added nine points each. DeShawn Patterson tied a career-high with 10 rebounds for the Lions, who held a 32-29 advantage on the boards and forced 14 turnovers.

Nicholls State finished 19-for-43 (44.2 percent) from the floor and 8-for-17 (47.1 percent) from behind the 3-point line while Southeastern was 22-for-49 (44.9 percent) overall.

Information provided by SLU Athletics