THIBODAUX – Northwestern State clawed its way back into the second half at Nicholls, but the Colonels’ late surge kept the Demons out of the Southland Conference win column Thursday in a 69-58 loss.
NSU tied the game at 52 under 10 minutes remaining, but the Colonels ended the game on a 17-6 run.
The Demons (4-15, 0-2 SLC) made just one of their last 11 from the field after starting the second half 12-19. NSU finished 37 percent shooting.
“We need to figure it out because we are a lot better than we’ve showed,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “We’re still fighting to find our identity, and we just haven’t been able to get over the hump of a difficult non-conference schedule.
“Nicholls turned us over and got some easy baskets.”
NSU finishes the road trip Saturday at New Orleans in a 4 p.m. tip. Dating back to the Privateers’ win against NSU in the finale of the SLC Tournament Tip-Off event, UNO has won three straight and is 2-0 in league play.
Nicholls (11-8, 1-1 SLC) turned 18 NSU turnovers into 18 points, 14 of those coming in the second half, many of which keyed the late-game run.
Jalen White made one of his three 3-pointers to break the 52-52 tie, one of five Colonels to score in the run.
One of White’s 3-pointers early in the second half handed Nicholls a nine-point lead as the Colonels threatened to blow the game open, but NSU freshman Carvell Teasett scored eight straight NSU points and closed the lead to as few as four points (47-43).
Cedric Garrett scored seven of his nine points in the second half (4-6 shooting), including two straight buckets that tied game at 52-52.
Larry Owens chipped in 11 points and five rebounds on 5-9 shooting.
Nicholls’ Pierce Spencer led four Colonels in double figures with 20 points, his second straight 20-point game (25 in a loss to UNO). Ryghe Lyons posted a double double with 10 points and 13 rebounds with Devante Carter (13 points) and Manny Little (10 points) contributing.
The Colonels didn’t scorch the nets (41 percent shooting), but they generated seven additional shots and five more free throws thanks to the turnover disparity (18-8).
Nicholls was playing without leading scorer Ty Gordon, who missed the game with an injury.
NSU played the majority of the second half without its leading scorer Kendal Coleman, who received a pair of technical fouls with 17:25 remaining in the second half and was ejected. The chippy game featured 10 total technical fouls with LaTerrance Reed also being ejected with two seconds remaining.
Coleman had three points and eight rebounds after recording seven double doubles in his last eight games.
Freshman Shaun Riley supplied a rebounding boost with five rebounds in seven minutes as the Demons still outrebounded Nicholls 46-42.
The Demons weathered an enormous first-half drought and a 15-0 Nicholls run, and NSU needed a shot in the arm trailing by 12 points late in the first half.
NSU found that jolt in the form of an 8-0 run to end the half and cut the Colonels lead to 28-24 at the break.
“We battled and we battled,” McConathy said. “(White’s) 3-pointer was a huge shot for them, and we struggled to keep them off the offensive glass in the second half.
“We fought back a lot tonight, but we didn’t have enough at the end.”
Teasett canned a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cap the run Kendal Coleman scored all three of his points during the run as both teams struggled offensively.
Reed (eight points) made a driving layup to put NSU up 16-13 before the Demons didn’t score again for 8:08.
Photo: Matt Vines/NSU Athletics