Claunch releases Nicholls men’s basketball 2019-20 schedule

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THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University men’s basketball program finalized its 2019-20 schedule Tuesday morning, solidifying a robust non-conference slate with just under two months until tipoff. The Colonels open the campaign on Nov. 5 at the University of Illinois — the first of five major roadtrips — before shifting focus to Southland Conference play on Dec. 18, hosting league foe Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Stopher Gym in Thibodaux, La.

With head coach Austin Claunch entering his second season at the helm, Nicholls aims to improve upon an overall positive showing during the 2018-19 campaign, winning three of the final five contests and falling just short of the eight seed in the Southland Conference Tournament despite losing the squad’s top five scorers from the year prior. According to second-year head coach, a major key to remaining competitive deep into the league slate begins with a tough non-conference schedule designed to challenge the roster and coaching staff alike.

“Illinois is our opener, and that’s a huge one right off the bat,” Claunch said. “They have a great returning squad and they’re set to have a big year. As usual, we have a really tough non-conference schedule with [Illinois], Pitt, West Virginia, LSU and Rhode Island, and I know a lot of people aren’t as familiar with Rhode Island, but they’ve been the NCAA Tournament the past couple seasons and those guys will really challenge us and help prepare us for conference play. We also go to Jamaica and will face off with a really tough North Carolina A&T team and a UMBC squad with guys who were there whey they upset top-seeded Virginia in the first round. We don’t have any gimmies, and I like it that way because at the end of the day, we’ve got to go win January through March and those types of games help shape us for league competition.”

Following the Dec. 18 Southland opener against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the Red & Gray hits the road for four of their next five, notably traveling to defending conference tournament champion Abilene Christian (Dec. 21) and in-state rival Southeastern Louisiana (Jan. 11). Notable league contests include home-and-home series with Sam Houston State (at Jan. 5; vs. Feb. 8), Lamar (at Jan. 8, vs. Feb. 12) & New Orleans (at Jan. 25; vs. Feb. 29) along with a home matchup against Southeastern Louisiana (Feb. 15) and a roadtrip to Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 5).

Nicholls wraps up the 2019 regular season schedule on Mar. 4 against McNeese, hosting the Cowboys on Senior Day before potentially advancing to the Southland Conference Tournament in Katy, Texas.

For more details, check out the full 2019-20 men’s basketball schedule HERE.

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