Nicholls’ second-half rally falls short at Louisville, 85-72

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Graduate transfer Jeremiah Jefferson scored all 24 points in the second half for the Nicholls State University men’s basketball team to lead a comeback at Louisville, but foul trouble haunted the Colonels all night, and UL escaped with an 85-72 victory Thursday at the KFC Yum! Center.

Jefferson, coming off a 28-point effort in his Colonel debut Tuesday, finished 7 of 12 from 3-point range to lead all scorers, and Gavin Peppers scored 14 points. Sophomore Kevin Johnson also reached double figures for Nicholls (1-1) with 11 points and tied his career high of eight assists with only one turnover.

Trailing 35-25 at the half, the Colonels used the long ball to climb back into it, hitting 9 of 18 after the break. Along Jefferson’s hot hand, Peppers hit one from downtown out of a timeout that made it a 68-66 game with 3:03 to go. But Nicholls, which tied a Louisville (1-0) opponent record with 38 fouls, went cold and the Cardinals scored the next nine points to put the game away.

Nicholls had five players foul out, resulting in a 42-for-55 night at the free throw line by the Cardinals. Steven Enoch was a perfect 9 of 9 at the stripe for UL and led four Cardinals in double figures with 15 points. Louisville outshot Nicholls for the game, 48 percent to 38, and had a nine rebound advantage.

Louisville led for most of the night, except for midway through the first half. Danny Garrick came off the bench for a layup and an 8-7 lead and then hit a 3-pointer for the Colonels’ largest advantage of the night at 11-7. Garrick scored all eight of his points in the first half.

Before the intermission, UL went on an 11-0 run as they held Nicholls scoreless for over five minutes until a Pepper’s 3-pointer put the score at 23-16. The UL led grew to as much as 12 in the first half.

In the second, it didn’t take long for Jefferson to heat up, knocking down a 3 just a minute into the half. He hit another to make it a nine-point game and then found Johnson for a 3-pointer to close the gap to six. Following another 3-pointer by Jefferson, Brandon Moore (7 points, 6 rebounds) had a steal and a bucket to make it 46-43.

Louisville pushed the deficit back to 10 on a 3-pointer from Darius Perry, and the game looked all but over after UL went ahead 64-50 at the under-8 media timeout. But Jefferson hit two more 3-pointers to spark the late Colonel comeback.

UP NEXT
The Colonels head west for their next two contests, starting Sunday (Nov. 11) at Washington State. Tipoff in Pullman is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST.

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