Charles, Berzat, Thibodeaux dominate second half in come from behind victory

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Thibodeaux finished with 21 points, Charles added 15 and Berzat scored 12

NEW ORLEANS – Travin Thibodeaux scored 12 of his 21 points in the second half, Ezekiel Charles finished with 15 points and five rebounds with three triples and Lamont Berzat added 12 points in his first career start as the University of New Orleans (9-10, 6-2 Southland) rallied back from a 10-point deficit to defeat the University of the Incarnate Word (5-12, 0-7 Southland) 74-70 Saturday evening at Lakefront Arena.

Thibdoeaux’s 21 marks the eighth time this season he reaches 20 points. The 15 for Charles are a new career-high for the junior.

A 9-0 run early in the game put UIW ahead early but the Privateers erased a double-digit deficit late in the stanza on a 6-0 run, tying the game at 32 with 2:09 to go following Ezekiel Charles’ triple.

Despite shooting 60.9 percent from the floor, the Cardinals led by just four at the break 38-34, with two scorers in double figures.

Travin Thibodeaux scored nine points in the half and added three assists. Bryson Robinson came off the bench with six points and three dimes to match Michael Zeno and Charles’ points total.

Down six at the under-16 media, the Privateers comeback began with a Charles triple off the dish from Robinson. The triple gave the junior 11 points and was followed by a Thibodeaux jumper to make it a one-point ballgame. After a UIW free throw, New Orleans tied the game at 48 on Charles’ layup. Keeping the momentum, Thibodeaux swiped a pass and went coast to coast to put the Privateers ahead 50-48 with 12:26 remaining for the first time since before the 17:00 mark in the opening frame.

The Cardinals took a two-point lead on back-to-back buckets, but Thibodeaux put a resounding end to that with a furious dunk to knot it up at 52.

It was then Scott Plaisance’s turn to take over as Scotty P scored five unanswered, including an and-one to put the Silver and Blue back in front 57-52 at the 7:28 mark.

Moments later and up one, Thibs’ layup and Robinson’s and-one gave a much needed six-point cushion with 2:00 to play.

Arguably the play of the game, Charles pulled down a rebound with 1:06 to go and followed with free throws to make it 69-63 UNO. After UIW split its free throws, Thibodeaux drained both to give the Privateers their largest lead of the game (+7) but Keaton Harvey drained a three to condense the New Orleans lead to four with 27.7 ticks to go.

The dominating second half propelled the Privateers to a 74-70 victory, improving to 6-2 in Southland play.

The Privateers hit the road to conclude the first half of Southland Conference play. New Orleans is at Northwestern State University Wednesday and have the second meeting in a week against Incarnate Word Saturday.

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