- Associated Press - Saturday, February 4, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Erik Thomas had 26 points while grabbing 11 rebounds to help lead New Orleans to a 78-69 win over Nicholls on Saturday night.

The victory, along with Sam Houston State’s 71-64 loss to Abilene Christian on Saturday, moved the Privateers (13-9, 8-3) into a first place tie in the Southland Conference with the Bearkats.

Christavious Gill drove for a layup to start the second half and give New Orleans a 39-37 lead. The Privateers pulled away to a 59-49 advantage with 8:05 left and coasted to the win as Nicholls could not close the gap.

Tevin Broyles had 12 points and Gill and Nate Frye each added 12 for New Orleans, which has won four of its last six games.

Nicholls made six more 3-pointers but the Privateers dropped in 11 more free throws.

Jahvaughn Powell hit 4 of 9 from distance for 25 points to lead Nicholls (11-13, 4-7).

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