Caldwell scores new career high, Lions score 60 in second half in win over Privateers
Southeastern @LionUpMBB starts the new year off with 6 wins in 7 games thanks to a career night from Nick Caldwell (@Chhachhi22). Caldwell led all scorers with 28 points and grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds in tonight's 92-87 win over UNO. @WGNOsports @LionUpAthletics @WGNOtv pic.twitter.com/tb6VrBo9pj
— Richie Mills (@richiemills) January 27, 2023
HAMMOND, La. – In what’s becoming a reoccurring theme, the Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team got another career scoring night from Nick Caldwell as SLU scored 60 points in the second half to complete a comeback win over the New Orleans Privateers, 92-87, Thursday night at the University Center.
It wasn’t the best of starts for the Lions as Southeastern found itself trailing 8-0 before Nick Caldwell finally broke the seal on the SLU basket with a three-pointer just more than two minutes into the contest. SLU slowly pulled that deficit back until a Christian Agnew three tied the score for the first time at 14-14 with 12:30 left in the period. Southeastern’s first lead came on its next offensive possession as Roscoe Eastmond hit from long distance to make it 17-16 Lions with just less than 12 minutes left in the first half.
UNO answered with a 9-3 run to reclaim the lead at 25-20 before Caldwell answered with five straight points to tie the score again at 25-25 with 6:49 remaining before halftime. However, that where the Privateers took over the remainder of the first stanza, scoring the next 11 as part of a 14-2 run to give UNO its largest lead of the contest at 39-27 with less than two minutes left before the break. A pair of free throws by Eastmond and another Caldwell three cut it down to seven before UNO got the final bucket of the half to push the lead back up to nine, 41-32, at the break.
The first possession of the second half foretold how the last 20 minutes would go as the ball moved around and Roger McFarlane found himself open for three, which he drained to make it a six-point game right out of the break. But it would take nearly 8:30 of back-and-forth action before the Lions got the score back to even as Boogie Anderson grabbed a rebound and went down the floor uncontested and a dunk to tie it up at 60-60 with just less than 11:40 left in the contest.
But it would take a bit more time before the Lions could push their way back out front as UNO answered each time SLU pulled level. The Privateers even took a two-possession lead with less than eight minutes remaining after a pair of free throws. However, Caldwell scored three the old-fashioned way on SLU’s next possession which started an 8-0 Lions run, capped by a pair of McFarlane free throws, which gave Southeastern a 75-72 lead with 6:39 left. Not only was that SLU’s first lead since 17-16, but it was also the last lead change of the contest as the Lions would not surrender the lead again. From there, Southeastern slowly pushed the lead out, eventually hitting a peak of seven points as McFarlane sank a pair of free throws with less than 30 seconds left, making the score 91-84 and sealing the Lions win.
“I thought our guys did a great job of turning down good shots and getting great ones in the second half,” said SLU head men’s basketball coach David Kiefer. “Nick Caldwell, Roger McFarlane, and Alec Woodard were asked to battle with guys five to six inches taller and 30 to 40 pounds heavier than them and did so admirably. We got key stops and rebounds late when we needed them. I thought we really shared the ball and hunted assists and that’s when we are at our best.”
A week after resetting his career high, Caldwell did it again as he finished the night hitting 11 of his 16 attempts, including both shots he took from above the arc, to finish with a career high 28 points to go with eight rebounds and a career high-tying three blocked shots. Anderson, who didn’t score at all in the first half, came alive in the last 20 minutes and finished with 17 points and three assists. McFarlane hit three three-pointers and all six of his free throw attempts to also finish with 17 points, grabbed five rebounds, got four steals, and blocked a shot. Woodard hit two threes on the evening and finished with 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
Both teams shot exceptionally well in the game with SLU hitting on 51.6% of its shots while UNO hit on 55.7%. From deep, it was even better for the Lions, who hit 52.4% from deep compared to 47.7% for the Privateers. However, the free throw line was key as Southeastern hit 17 of 22 attempts from the stripe while New Orleans hit eight of 13 from the line. Points off turnovers proved vital to SLU as the Lions scored 23 points off UNO mistakes while the Privateers got just six points off SLU miscues. Southeastern doubled up UNO in transition as the Lions scored 14 fast break points while the Privateers scored just seven.
The Lions (12-9, 6-2 SLC), who now stand alone atop the Southland Conference standings after Thursday night’s action, and Privateers (6-13, 3-5 SLC) do it again on Saturday in New Orleans to close out the season series between the two teams with SLU looking to finish off a season sweep. Tip-off of Saturday’s rematch is set for 4:00 P.M. at the UNO Lakefront Arena and will be live streamed on ESPN+.
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Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the basketball program are encouraged to join the Hardwood Club. Lion alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners. All membership fees and donations to Hardwood Club are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern basketball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
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