- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) - Erik Thomas scored 21 points and New Orleans pulled away from Nicholls State in the final two minutes to earn a 74-64 win and clinch the outright Southland Conference title on Saturday.

New Orleans (18-11, 13-5) had dropped two straight entering the day, leaving the door open for Texas A&M-;Corpus Christi to take a share of the title if the Privateers had lost.

Christavious Gill added 14 points for New Orleans, which held the Colonels to just 34 percent shooting and 26 percent from long range.

Three Ja’Dante’ Frye free throws cut the Nicholls’ deficit to 65-62 with two minutes left. But Thomas answered with a jumper 20 seconds later, followed by two Gill free throws to extend the Privateers’ lead back to seven. The Colonels (14-17, 7-11) never got back within five.

Jahvaughn Powell led Nicholls with 23 points, while Frye added 17.

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