First-place UNO cruises to 82-64 victory over Northwestern State

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Defending champs remain atop the Southland

NEW ORLEANS – The Privateers matched their season-high of four consecutive wins as Travin Thibodeaux finished with a game-high 21 points in the University of New Orleans’ (12-10, 9-2 Southland) 82-64 victory over Northwestern State University (3-18, 0-10 Southland) Wednesday evening at Lakefront Arena.

The UNO victory and Southeastern Louisiana’s home loss at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tonight gives New Orleans a two-game lead in the win column in the Southland standings.

Thibodeaux’s 21 marked the ninth 20-point performance for the Plaquemine native. Three others reached double figures – Troy Green (12 points, 6-of-6 from the charity stripe), Makur Puou (4-of-5 from the field, 11 points and seven rebounds) and Ezekiel Charles (10 points, 4-of-5 FG, two steals).

The bench provided 45 of the club’s 82 points and defensively, UNO was credited with 12 steals.

“Defensively, we were aggressive and when you force 22 turnovers, you give yourself a chance to win,” said head coach Mark Slessinger. “The unselfishness of our team tonight put us in a great position.”

“Our second half schedule is as tough as any in the Southland with a home-and-home versus Nicholls (Saturday is first of two), and Southeastern Louisiana, McNeese coming in and away games at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State.”

Thibodeaux provided a half-high 11 points and the team collected nine steals to take a 36-24 lead into the break. New Orleans scored 11 points off Northwestern State’s 13 turnovers. Michael Zeno swatted away two shots and added two steals, Bryson Robinson came off the bench with two steals and four points, highlighted by a dunk off a steal and Charles was 3-of-4 for six points and three rebounds.

Offense was the story early on in the frame with both clubs shooting 50.0 percent at the halfway point. For New Orleans, Thibodeaux and Charles reached double figures with 17 and 10 points, respectively.

The Privateers remained aggressive with 33 free throws in the contest.

The crowd and bench went wild as Bol Riek found fellow freshman Charles Bohannon for a fast break layup on back-to-back possessions.

The Privateers picked up their fourth consecutive victory with the 82-64 win over the Demons.

“They have a really good team and they’re building on the success of a year ago. They’re backing up their championship season with success led by their veteran players,” said Demons head coach Mike McConathy.

The Privateers host Nicholls Saturday at 4:15 p.m. prior to their first bye in conference play.

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