By The Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. — Anatoly Bose had been a member of two Nicholls State teams which had come close to pulling off an upset against LSU.
Bose made sure the Colonels would accomplish that feat in his final chance. Bose scored 28 points as Nicholls State ended the Tigers’ 82-game home court winning streak against Louisiana schools with a 62-53 victory Tuesday.
Bose scored 18 points in the second half as the Colonels became the first in-state team to defeat LSU, which plays Memphis Sunday afternoon in Tupelo, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center since Louisiana Tech in December of 1988.
Two years ago, Nicholls State had a second-half lead before losing by 12 points to a Tigers team which won the Southeastern Conference title. Last season, the Colonels missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“It’s a great, great feeling, to be honest with you,” Bose said. “I’m sure everybody dreams about this. But, we came in here not thinking about winning the game. We were more focused on playing Nicholls basketball which is defense and rebounding.
“The last two years we came close, but we weren’t able to pull it out at the end. This year, we knuckled down at the end and were able to escape.”
Bose was 8 of 20 -from the field, including 2 of 5 from behind the 3-point line. He also sank 10 of his 13 free throw attempts. Bose scored 18 of his 28 points in the second half. Fred Hunter chipped in with 18 points for Nicholls State.
“I like Bose,” LSU coach Trent Johnson said. “To me, he’s what college basketball is all about. He is not overly strong. He is not overly athletic. But he understands angles. He understands the game.”
Nicholls State limited the Tigers, who had made 60 percent of their field goal attempts in their season-opening victory against Northwestern State, to 37 percent shooting. In addition, LSU committed 18 turnovers. The smaller Colonels held their own on the boards as they were outrebounded only 37-33.
“I am breathless,” Nicholls State coach J.P. Pier said. “I am just numb. I dreamed about this day for a long time. But I wasn’t sure if it ever was going to happen. I knew we had this in us, but I wasn’t sure we could get it on the floor.”
Andre Stringer and Matt Derenbecker were the leading scorers for the Tigers with 14 points apiece. LSU’s starting post players — Malcolm White and Storm Warren — combined for just 10 points.
“It was a group effort,” Piper said. “One-on-one these guys would annihilate us, but we thought we had a good defensive scheme. Every time the ball went into the post, we had an answer. We were swarming the ball. We just came up with some big defensive plays down low.”
The Colonels (1-1), who had lost all 16 previous meetings with LSU, took the lead for good on two free throws by Eldridge Moore at 35-34 with 13:50 left in the game. Bose then knocked down a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play to give the Colonels a seven-point advantage.
The Tigers cut their deficit to two points at 42-40 on a field goal by Warren with 6:30 remaining. But Nicholls State didn’t fold. Field goals by Hunter and Bryan Hammond pushed the Colonels’ lead back to six points. LSU (1-1) got no closer than four points in the final 4 minutes.
There were five lead changes in the opening 10 minutes of the first half with neither team having more than a four-point advantage. A basket by Bose put Nicholls State on top 10-9 with 10:05 remaining before halftime.
The Colonels failed to score over the next 4 minutes while LSU moved out in front 17-10. A field goal by Derenbecker gave the Tigers the lead. A basket by Eddie Ludwig followed by a field goal and two free throws by Ralston Turner completed the 8-0 run.
Nicholls State reduced its deficit to a single point on two occasions — the last time at 22-21 on a 3-pointer by Kenny Franklin, Jr. with 1:06 left in the half. LSU took a 25-21 lead into the break after Stringer made three free throws.
The Colonels took their first lead since the 10-minute mark of the first half when Franklin, Jr. made a driving layup with 15:25 remaining in the game for a 31-30 advantage.
A four-point play by Derenbecker put the Tigers back in front at 34-33. But the Colonels responded with eight straight points to take control of the game.