THIBODAUX, La. – HBU led for nearly 18 minutes of the game but Nicholls pulled away in the second half to down the Huskies in Southland Conference play on Wednesday night in Stopher Gymnasium.
Zach Iyeyemi opened the game’s scoring but Nicholls (14-6, 11-2 SLC) held an early 4-2 lead before a three from Hunter Janacek and a pair of layups from Jade Tse put the Huskies (4-15, 3-8 SLC) ahead 9-4 a little over four minutes into the game. HBU began to build its lead from there with back-to-back baskets from Philip McKenzie and Iyeyemi pushing it to nine, 19-10.
Nicholls responded, however, with a 12-2 stretch over a five-minute span to lead 22-21. The Huskies then broke out of a nearly three-minute scoreless spell with a seven-point burst of their own to back ahead, 28-22. The Colonels pulled back within one late but a late Ryan Gomes shot in the paint sent the Huskies into the locker room leading, 30-27.
Ty Gordon and Jaylen Fornes hit threes on consecutive possessions to open the second half for Nichols and gave the Colonels a three-point lead but HBU’s Pedro Castro answered with a pair of jumpers to put the Huskies back ahead by one, 34-30. Nicholls regained the lead and led 38-36 before Castro again made a pair of baskets to put HBU ahead 40-38.
The next six points went to Nicholls, putting the Colonels ahead 44-40 with a lead they would not relinquish over the final 12:45. After an Iyeyemi layup at the 10:03 mark cut the HBU deficit to three, the Colonels scored the next four and started using small runs to extend their lead. Brycen Long knocked down consecutive threes for the Huskies to make it a five-point game with under four minutes left but Nicholls pushed its lead to double-digits a minute and a half later, holding the Huskies at bay the rest of the way.
Castro led HBU with 12 points, all of which came in the second half, finishing 4-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Tse added 11 points, five assists, and three rebounds while Iyeyemi closed the game with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Long led the team with a career-high six rebounds while also scoring six points.
HBU struggled from three, connecting on just 18.2 percent (4-of-22) and finished 42.6 percent (26-of-61) from the floor. Nicholls held a slight edge on the boards, 36-34, with the two teams finishing even in the turnover battle.
Fornes was the spark plug for the Colonels, scoring all 23 of his points in the second half. The senior was 7-of-9 from three in the second period and 2-of-2 from the foul line. Nicholls finished 14-of-33 (42.4 percent) from long range and 24-of-57 (42.1 percent) from the field.
HBU will play its final road game of the season this Saturday, Feb. 27, when the Huskies head to Lake Charles, La. to take on the McNeese Cowboys at Burton Coliseum at 7:30 p.m.