Colonels dunk Centenary in home opener

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Nicholls ladies fall short against Louisiana-Lafayette, set to face Iowa State Thursday for Cyclone Classic

THIBODAUX — The Nicholls men’s basketball team gave Colonel fans a friendly welcome back to Stopher Gymnasium Thursday afternoon, as the Colonels overcame a slow start to defeat Centenary, 89-80, in Nicholls’ first game in Stopher this season.

&#8220This was a nice win,” said head coach J.P. Piper. &#8220I thought we came out a little sluggish in the first half, but we managed to find ourselves up two at half and we challenged them in the locker room at halftime. We came out and looked phenomenal to start the second half, but we put it in neutral at about the 9:00 mark. Although I don’t like the way we finished, we will certainly take the win.”

Nicholls placed four players in double figures, led by junior guard Stefan Blascsynski with 28 points and nine rebounds. Adonis Gray pitched in 17 points, while Ryan Bathie and James Dixon added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Centenary, who had five players in double digits, were led by Larry Logan with 16 points and seven rebounds and Alexander Starr and Xavier Burnette with 12 points a piece. Clarke Jackson and Byran Baumann chipped in another 11 and 10 points each.

Centenary jumped out to a 22-11 lead with 10:08 remaining in the opening half. However, Nicholls went on a 16-4 run, over the next 4:06, capped by a Dixon layup to take their first lead of the game, 28-26. The Colonels went into halftime leading 41-39.

Nicholls carried the momentum gained from the first half out of the locker room, as the Colonels opened up the second half on a 31-13 run to take their biggest lead, 72-52, with 7:35 left in the game. The Gents could not cut the deficit to any closer than eight, as Nicholls rolled to the 89-80 victory.

The Colonels will break for the holidays, before returning to action Dec. 29 to host Jackson State at Stopher Gymnasium. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.

Thanks to the Civic Center’s portable floor and a hard working maintenance staff, basketball returned to Stopher Gym Tuesday night with Nicholls entertaining Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Lady Colonels (1-9 overall) stayed close throughout, but fell short as they dropped a 74-62 decision.

Nicholls, who led 35-34 at halftime, stayed within striking distance until the final few minutes.

&#8220The ladies are starting to get used to playing with each other,” Nicholls coach Mark Cook said. &#8220I thought we did a good job on the perimeter, but our inside play needs to get better. It was great to play one at home, and I think we put on a good performance. We just need to continue to improve before conference starts.”

After falling behind 11-4 in the early going, Nicholls went on 13-4 run to take a 17-15 lead at the 10:37 mark thanks to a Claire Barry 3-pointer.

Eventually, the Lady Colonels jumped in front 31-25 on a Keyona McKibbens 3-pointer with 3:30 left.

The second half saw Louisiana-Lafayette (9-2) gaining control of the contest.

Nicholls, who took its last lead at the 12:31 mark on a Dominique Washington 3-pointer, cut its deficit to 62-58 with 6:05 remaining when Jamie Octave knocked down a jumper.

Leading the way for Nicholls was Octave. The junior guard scored 17 points and grabbed seven boards. Other top performers for Nicholls included Barry and Washington. Both finished with nine points.

For Louisiana-Lafayette, Sonora Edwards paced the Ragin’ Cajuns with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

The Lady Colonels will return to action when they travel to participate in the Cyclone Classic on Thursday, Dec. 29. Nicholls will face Iowa State at 8 p.m.