Nicholls completes series sweep of Lamar with 69-65 victory

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THIBODAUX, La. — Paced by resurgent effort from Dexter McClanahan, the Nicholls State University men’s basketball program (16-9, 10-4 Southland) took advantage of a raucous home crowd Wednesday night against league contender Lamar (12-13, 6-8 Southland), outworking the Cardinals down the stretch for a major 69-65 victory in the team’s second crucial series sweep of the season.

After leading the team on the scoreboard in seven of the first 16 games this year — four of which broke the 20-point plateau (at Illinois, at LSU, vs. UMBC & vs. UIW) — McClanahan has stepped out of the spotlight since a 17-point showing at Lamar (Jan. 8), averaging just 8.6 ppg over the last five contests. Despite a slow start versus the Cardinals, though, the Georgia native managed to break out of his slump, finishing 7-of-16 from the field, including a key 4-of-8 from long range, for a squad-best 19 points, four assists and three steals.

— For the game, Nicholls finished shooting 46.2 percent (30-of-65) from the field, 36.4 percent (8-of-22) at the three-point line and 25.0 percent (1-of-4) from the charity stripe.
— With the win, the Colonels complete the team’s second-straight series sweep of the season, topping yet-another serious conference contender along the way (both Sam Houston State & Lamar are slated to reach the SLC Tournament in early March).
— Interestingly, the Red & Gray struggled to work their way to the free-throw line throughout the contest, earning the first trip of the night on an Andre Jones and-one with 2:55 remaining in the second half. Further, once the Colonels were afforded a few opportunities via late Lamar fouls, the nearly-75 percent shooting team rimmed out on three-of-four total attempts, finishing with a season-low 25.0 percent from the line. Comparably, Lamar concluded the evening 21-of-25 from the charity stripe behind a season second-highest 84.0 percent overall.
— Outside of McClanahan, fellow starters Kevin Johnson and Andre Jones composed strong overall performances as well, dropping 11 points apiece while combining for eight assists and six rebounds.
— On the glass, senior Elvis Harvey Jr. nearly pulled off a double-double as he wrapped up the contest with 10 boards and just nine points.

As the season begins to wind down, the Red & Gray close out this home stand with a doubleheader against rival Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday afternoon before shifting focus to their final roadtrip of the year, heading to Northwestern State, Central Arkansas and HBU over a three-match stretch.

For more information on Colonels Men’s Basketball, follow the team on Twitter (@Nicholls_MBB), Instagram (@geauxcolonels) and like their Facebook page (Nicholls Athletics).

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