- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

KATY, Texas (AP) - Dantrell Thomas scored 27 points and had six assists as fifth-seeded Nicholls State beat its rival Southeastern Louisiana 71-64 in the first round of the Southland Conference tournament on Wednesday.

Nicholls won its first conference tournament game since 2009 and will face No. 4 seed Northwestern State on Thursday.

Thomas, averaging 15.7 points, made 7 of 12 field goals and 11 free throws for Nicholls State (14-14). T.J. Carpenter had 13 points and Liam Thomas grabbed 12 rebounds.

Dantrell Thomas scored six points during an 8-0 Nicholls State run to push a one-point lead to 60-51 with 3:44 left. Jeffery Ricard scored six consecutive SE Louisiana points to get within 62-58, but the Lions would get no closer. Dantrell Thomas made four free throws in the final 30 seconds.

Dre Evans scored 15 points for No. 8 seed SE Louisiana (12-18), while Antonnio Benton had 12 and nine rebounds.

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