THIBODAUX, La. — Following an overtime thriller less than two days ago at rival New Orleans, the Nicholls State University men’s basketball program (15-6, 12-2 SLC) steels for the team’s final home contest of the 2020-21 campaign against Southland adversary Northwestern State (9-15, 8-5 SLC), hosting the Demons in the Red & Gray’s sixth season sweep opportunity of the year on Monday, Mar. 1 at Stopher Gym, tip slated for 6 p.m.
With a major mix-up atop the league standings over the weekend due to upset losses by Abilene Christian and Stephen F. Austin, the Red & Gray are poised to secure, at the very least, a share of the Southland Conference Regular Season Title with another two victories over the coming four days (vs. Northwestern State, at McNeese). As for seeding in the upcoming league tournament, Nicholls need only win out to lock down the No. 2 spot — along with the coveted triple bye — and would have an opportunity for the top position should Sam Houston drop any one of its final three matchups (at HBU, vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, vs. Stephen F. Austin).
In the January edition of the home-and-home series with Northwestern State, the Colonels took care of business, 76-66, behind a trio of double-digit performances out of Najee Garvin (19), Ty Gordon (17) and Andre Jones (13), moving to a an even .500 (5-5) for the first time since sitting at 1-1 in late November. Notably, Gordon posted his lone double-double of the season during the contest as well, pulling down a team-high 11 boards all while flirting with triple-double territory behind a then-season-best eight assists.
After playing host to Northwestern State on Monday evening, the Colonels close out their regular season schedule with a quick in-state roadtrip over to Lake Charles to battle McNeese, matching wits with Cowboys on Thursday, Mar. 3, tip slated for 6:30 p.m.
COMPLETE PROGRAM BREAKDOWN
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- Austin Claunch remains in his third season at the helm for the Red & Gray, sporting a 50-33 (31-18 SLC) overall record with the Colonels.
- The team boasts eight seniors: G Ty Gordon, G Kevin Johnson, C Ryghe Lyons, G Jeremiah Buford, G Andre Jones, G Jaylen Fornes, F Damien Sears and G Shawn Williams.
- This year’s roster is highlighted by 11 newcomers, including: six transfers from fellow Division I collegiate programs, two who joined the ranks via JUCO programs and another trio who signed on directly from high school. Of the six DI transfers, three — redshirt senior G Jaylen Fornes (UNC-Wilmington) along with redshirt juniors G Isaac Johnson (Western Illinois) and F Najee Garvin (Charlotte) — are of specific note, as each enter the season with one full year with the program after sitting out 2019-20 due to NCAA transfer restrictions.
- This season’s depth chart features seven players from across the state of Louisiana, a pair from Little Rock, Ark., and one from each of the following: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Minnesota and Texas.
- The Colonels were projected to finish fourth in the Southland Conference, per the league’s preseason poll. Notably, Nicholls had yet to notch a single-digit ranking since the 2014-15 poll, in which the Red & Gray pulled off an eighth-place finish.
- Nicholls returns two of last season’s five starters: senior G Kevin Johnson and redshirt senior G Andre Jones.