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.

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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