Nicholls earns Southland title with win over McNeese

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The Nicholls State University men’s basketball program earned the Southland Conference (SLC) regular-season championship after defeating McNeese 80-67 in Lake Charles on Thursday.

This is the program’s second SLC title in the four years.

The win improves the Colonels to 17-6 overall and 14-2 in SLC play.

Key storylines and statistics provided by

— For the night, Nicholls finished shooting 46.2 percent (30-of-65) from the field, 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from beyond the arc and 63.6 percent (14-of-22) at the free throw line.
— With the win, the Colonels clinch, at the very least, a share of the regular-season conference title along with, at worst, the No. 2 overall seed in the upcoming league tournament. In terms of final determinations for positioning at Katy, Nicholls need only pay attention to Sam Houston and the Bearkats’ Saturday clash against Stephen F. Austin, as a win grants SHSU a share of the regular-season championship and the top placement at the tournament while a loss vaults the Red & Gray to the No. 1 spot via a solo title for the 2020-21 campaign.
— Individually, redshirt junior Najee Garvin continued to serve as a high-energy substitution off the bench, posting a game-high 20 points behind a 7-of-12 overall shooting performance along with a key 6-of-8 at the charity stripe. Further, the South Carolina native put in some work on the glass as well, capturing a squad-high eight boards.
— Meanwhile, four-year veteran guard Kevin Johnson put an exclamation mark on the final regular-season contest of his storied career with the program, lighting up the scoreboard for 19 points on a 3-of-6 showing from long range while dishing out a squad-best four assists. Additionally, the senior continued to effectively pester opposing offenses as the Thibodaux product notched a team-high two steals on the night, officially pulling within four of the all-time career mark in the school record books (James Banks, 1996-00, 247).
— Fellow senior Ty Gordon rounded out the top scoring contributors for the Red & Gray, registering 17 points in, coincidentally, his 17th double-digit outing of the season.
— Notably, seniors Andre Jones and Damien Sears combined for a meaningful 16 points during the victory, as each consistently converted critical opportunities to score throughout the tight periods of the matchup. Interestingly, Jones even managed to share a pair of team-bests, securing eight boards — same as Garvin — while also logging four assists — same as Johnson.

Next, the Colonels will play in the Southland Conference Tournament scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 9 through Saturday, Mar. 13 in Katy, Texas.