Late Run Leads Men’s Basketball Past Southeastern Louisiana, 60-52

Courtesy of UNO Athletics

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The University of New Orleans men’s basketball team defeated the Southeastern Louisiana Lions 60-52 on Saturday evening in the University Center. The game featured a combined 39 turnovers, 72 missed shots and countless stoppages due to issues with the shot and game clock.


“There were some technical issues with mechanical stuff here that wasn’t anyone’s fault, and our guys kept their focus. They kept locked in on what was going on. They stuck with the game plan, and they kept their energy up. That was the biggest thing: through all of those starts and stops, they kept their energy up and did a tremendous job,” said UNO head coach Mark Slessinger.


The Privateers drew blood as senior guard Tevin Broyles nailed a jumper on the game’s opening possession, but UNO gave up the next seven points and did not score another field goal for nearly four minutes as the Lions roared out to a 9-3 lead. Southeastern’s lead swelled at 15-5 with 13:30 to play in the opening period before the Privateers rattled off 10 unanswered points to tie the contest up. The Lions scored the next six to take a 21-15 advantage with 5:44 to go before the break, and UNO answered by closing out the half on a 12-2 run to take a 27-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.


New Orleans’ momentum did not carry over into the second half, however, as Southeastern Louisiana opened the half with a 9-2 rally to take a 32-29 lead with 15:33 on the clock. The two teams traded blows over, and the Lions appeared to retake control of the ballgame as Moses Greenwood hit a layup and Marlain Veal connected on 1-of-2 free throws to stretch the lead back to five.


UNO answered with a free throw by Erik Thomas and a trey by Christavious Gill to cut the deficit to one, and Greenwood thwarted the rally momentarily with a jumper to make it 39-36. Neither team could get much going for a while, but a Veal turnover led to Thomas’ dunk and the game belonged to the Privateers from there.


Thomas’ game-changing dunk made it 39-38 in favor of the Lions, and junior guard Jorge Rosa followed with a pair of free throws, while junior guard Nate Frye converted a layup. Gill nailed a 3-pointer and two free throws during the Privateers’ next two possessions to give New Orleans a 47-39 lead it would not relinquish.


“We were in attack mode, either trying to get a basket or trying to get to the free throw line,” Slessinger said.


The dunk also snapped a 3:16 stretch without a point for either team, and Southeastern missed 10 consecutive shots and turned the ball over five times before Eddy Polanco made it a 47-42 contest with 2:28 to go. Southeastern Louisiana followed with a 3-pointer by Veal to make it a two-point affair, but New Orleans sandwiched a Thomas-jumper and a Gill-3-pointer around a jumper by the Lions’ James Currington to make it 52-47 with 31 seconds remaining.


“That was an unbelievable play,” Slessinger said. “If that’s not a SportsCenter Top 10 play, I don’t know what is. It was crazy how we pulled that off. It led to us getting things rolling. We were really unselfish during that stretch.”


Thomas finished with a double-double after tallying a game-high 20 points and a team-leading 12 rebounds as New Orleans won its third-straight game to improve to 15-9 on the year and maintain sole possession of first place in Southland Conference standings at 10-3.


“What a crazy night,” Slessinger said. “It was by far our worst shooting night of the year, but we played so hard on both ends of the floor. Southeastern is very, very tough here. They’ve very good defensively here. I’ll take it. I’m not going to overcomplicate things. We figured out a way to win on a tough night in a tough environment.”


“I’m so excited for our guys,” Slessinger added. “Men’s basketball [at UNO] is in first place, but more importantly, our university is in first place. Our faculty and staff are in first place. Our students and our alumni are in first place. And our city is in first place. Every one of them deserve it. We wouldn’t be here without all of those people pushing us and helping us.”

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Late Run Leads Men’s Basketball Past Southeastern Louisiana, 60-52