THIBODAUX, La. — With the best start in Southland play under third-year head coach Austin Claunch on the line, the Nicholls State University men’s basketball program (7-5, 5-1 SLC) returns home for the first time in nearly two weeks for a rivalry matchup against New Orleans (4-9, 3-2 SLC), hosting the Privateers as the latter half of a doubleheader with women’s basketball on Saturday, Jan. 23 at Stopher Gym, tip slated for approximately 5 p.m.
The Colonels are also scheduled to make-up a previously canceled non-conference contest with Carver College (0-14 NCCAA) less than 24 hours later, tipoff against the Cougars set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 24 at Stopher Gym.
Now boasting a five-game win streak within league competition dating back to early January against Lamar, the Red & Gray enter their jam-packed weekend with some serious offensive momentum, sporting an 81.0 points per game average during that stretch along with a blazing .494 shooting percentage.
Individually, redshirt junior Najee Garvin has proven the most consistent during that span, posting between 15 and 19 points in each of the five victories. Oppositely, fellow redshirt junior Ty Gordon has varied much more wildly, racking up a squad season-high 27 points in Wednesday night’s win at HBU while notching just 11 points (with a squad season-best nine assists) four days prior at Central Arkansas.
COMPLETE PROGRAM BREAKDOWN
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- Austin Claunch remains in his third season at the helm for the Red & Gray, sporting a 42-32 (27-17 SLC) overall record with the Colonels.
- The team boasts seven seniors: 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.
Following the fully-packed two-game weekend, the Colonels wrap up the three-game home stand with yet-another in-state rival — McNeese, hosting the Cowboys on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.
For more information on Colonels Men’s Basketball, follow the team on Twitter (@Nicholls_MBB), Instagram (@nicholls_mbb) and like their Facebook page (Nicholls Athletics).