Nicholls rockets past UNO behind Lyons, Spencer career outings

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THIBODAUX, La. — Propelled by senior Ryghe Lyons’ first-ever double-double along with a 17-point showing out of freshman Pierce Spencer, the Nicholls State University men’s basketball program (8-5, 6-1 SLC) opened the team’s three-game home stand with a high-flying performance against rival New Orleans (4-10, 3-3 SLC), dominating the visiting Privateers by a final 86-62 margin Saturday evening at Stopher Gym.

Following a relatively tight first period of play, the Red & Gray steadily began to grow their six-point halftime advantage minute-by-minute throughout the second, ballooning the lead out to 15 by the 13:28 mark and eventually 20 by 10:56. All-in-all, the Colonels would secure an edge as large as 25 on two separate occasions before settling on a 24-point gap for the final tally.

KEY STORYLINES & STATISTICS
— For the night, Nicholls finished shooting 46.6 percent (34-of-73) from the field, 42.9 percent (9-of-21) at the three-point line and 75.0 percent (9-of-12) from the charity stripe.
— With the victory, the Red & Gray move to 6-1 in Southland Conference play and secure the program’s best league start under third-year head coach Austin Claunch. In last year’s second-place run, the Colonels bolted out to a 5-1 record in conference competition, faltering only due to a Northwestern State buzzer beater in mid-January.
— Along a similar thread, Nicholls now owns a six-game Southland win streak dating back to a 76-69 home victory over Lamar on Jan. 6.
— Individually, Lyons masterfully out-positioned and outworked the Privateers down low as the senior not only captured his first-ever collegiate double-double, but did so in memorable fashion behind new career-highs in both points (23) and rebounds (13). To add some perspective, the Slidell native’s previous career marks stood at 16 points and nine boards, meaning tonight saw the rim protector make a seven point, four rebound jump. Of specific note, Lyons crashed the offensive glass exceptionally hard throughout the contest, pulling down nine rebounds on that end of the court alone.
— Meanwhile, Spencer continues to impress as an invaluable role player off the Red & Gray bench, exploding tonight for a career-best 17 points in his first-ever double-digit collegiate outing. The freshman drilled a perfect 3-of-3 from long range while going 7-of-9 overall, finishing with six boards and one assist as well.
— Flying under the radar for arguably one of the first times all season, redshirt junior Ty Gordon quietly put together another quality showing behind 18 points, five rebounds and a trio of steals. Across 13 games played thus far, the Mississippi native has managed to score in double-digits on 12 occasions now, including twice above the 20-point plateau.

UP NEXT
The three-game home stretch continues over the course of the next four days, as the Colonels initially host Carver College on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. before returning to Southland play on Wednesday, Jan. 27 with in-state rival McNeese.

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

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