Nicholls bounced by No. 11 Memphis
More than halfway through the first period, the Nicholls men’s basketball team was within seven points of No. 11 Memphis Saturday afternoon, but long stretches of scoreless ball and relentless pressure by the Tigers would do in the squad as the Colonels fell to the Tigers 98-59 at the FedEx Forum.
Nicholls (0-4), already down by 24 points coming out of the halftime break, would never threaten the Memphis (2-1) lead in the final 20 minutes, as the Tigers outscored the Colonels 20-8 in an eight-minute stretch, which also included a 13-2 run that lasted nearly four minutes.
Jeremy Smith scored in the double-digits for the second consecutive game, earning 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, as he was the only player to finish the game with at least 10 points.
Amin Torres and Luke Doyle led the bench with seven each, while Dantrell Thomas had seven before fouling out. Liam Thomas grabbed a season-high nine rebounds with just two points.
Memphis was on from the tip, and it was evident that the Tigers were on a mission, finishing the night with five players scoring in double figures.
Austin Nichols’ game-high 20 points led Memphis.
The Tigers shot 53 percent from the field and made 16 shots in the second half after sinking 15 in the first.
Nicholls committed 37 fouls and turned the ball over 18 times. Foul shooting was another point of emphasis for the Tigers as they took 50 free throws and made 31.
By that same token, Memphis had 18 fouls, and Nicholls only took 17 free throws.
The Tigers clamped down, and if not for two Piers Carroll 3-pointers in the final two minutes, the Colonels would not have made one from distance for the final 20 minutes.
Fifty-two of Memphis’ 36 points came in the paint, while they got 25 points off turnovers, 19 second chance points, 21 fast break points and 41 from the bench.
The Colonels scored 30 points in the second period, one more than they had after the first.
Just like in the first half, Nicholls went 5:19 without making a bucket from the 7:58 mark to the 2:39 minute stoppage in the second half.
The Tigers led by as many as 15 points midway through the first half, as the Colonels went more than 3:30 without scoring a point just before play had reached five minutes into the contest.
However, after a Doyle 3-pointer, the Colonels came within seven points of Memphis, trailing 29-22 with less than eight minutes remaining by scoring 14 points in a little more than three minutes before a hoop and foul by Michael Dixon Jr. pushed the Tiger lead back to double-digits.
After that Nicholls trey, the squad once again went on another long scoring drought, this time spanning six minutes that allowed Memphis to outscore Nicholls 22-7 during the final 7:36 of the first to pull ahead of the Colonels for good and go into the half leading 51-29.
Smith’s eight points were the most for any Colonel in the first 20 minutes, as the Colonels shot 41 percent from the field and 29 percent from behind the 3-point line. The team worked to get to the line but only made five of 10 attempts and didn’t take its first free throw until the 8:08 mark.
The Colonels will be back in action Tuesday, hosting the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners in Thibodaux at 6:30 p.m.