RUSTON — Raheem Appleby and Michale Kyser combined for 42 points as Louisiana Tech beat Southern Miss 72-61 and clinched the Conference USA regular-season crown on Thursday night.
Appleby had 23 points and Kyser scored nine of his 19 points in the final 8:34 of the second half, finishing with 14 boards. The Bulldogs (24-7, 15-3) claimed their first outright championship title since 1999 and will enter the Conference USA tournament as the No. 1 seed.
Appleby hit two from distance and Xavian Stapleton slammed down two dunks in a 10-0 run that gave Louisiana Tech a 16 point lead with 13:21 left to play. The Golden Eagles (9-20, 4-14) closed to 59-49 with 5:09 remaining but then gave up 11 straight points, ending any hopes for a comeback.
Shadell Millinghaus scored 25 points to lead Southern Miss.
NICHOLLS STATE 77, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 70: In Thibodaux, Ja’Dante’ Frye scored 16 points, Sam McBeath and Amin Torres each added 15 and Nicholls State held off a late Central Arkansas run.
Nicholls (9-18, 6-11 Southland) led 40-24 at intermission after closing on a 12-2 run.
The Bears (2-26, 2-15) trailed by double figures until Boo Milligan made a layup to make it 69-61 with 1:19 remaining. Jordan Howard hit a 3-pointer and Mike Martin converted three free throws for a two-point game, 71-69, with 33 seconds left. The Colonels went 6-for-6 from the line while Central Arkansas missed its next five shots and split a pair of free throws.
ALABAMA STATE 78, GRAMBLING 46: In Grambling, Wendell Lewis, DeMarcus Robinson and Jamel Waters scored 12 apiece to lead six Alabama State players in double figures and the Hornets beat Grambling.
Bobby Brown had 11 points for Alabama State (17-9, 13-4 Southwestern Athletic Conference) while Luther Page and Tony Armstrong each scored 10.
Grambling (2-25, 0-17), which has lost 20 in a row, trailed just 31-24 at halftime despite making only 9 of 32 (28.1 percent) field goals before halftime.
UNO 84, SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA 75: In New Orleans, freshman Randi Brown scored a career-high 30 points as the UNO women’s basketball team took its third consecutive victory on Thursday night, toppling Southeastern Louisiana at the Lakefront Arena 84-75.
SLU was eliminated from postseason contention. UNO kept its tournament hopes alive.
The game was close through the first seven minutes until UNO used a clipped off a 14-0 run, capped by a Yasmin Taylor free throw for a 26-15 lead.
Southeastern (7-21, 3-14 Southland Conference) cut the lead to three points with 3:19 to go with its sixth 3-pointer of the half, but UNO led 39-36 at halftime.
Southeastern’s Peaches Anderson had 15 points and was joined in double figures by Elizabeth Styles (14 points), Erica Hernandez (14 points), Jameika Hoskins (11 points) and Nanna Pool (10 points).
NICHOLLS STATE 53, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 43: In Thibodaux, Nicholls State raced out to a 21-point lead in the first half and held off Central Arkansas on Senior Night at Stopher Gym.
The victory set a program record for conference wins and secured a bye for the Colonels (16-12, 12-5 SLC) in next week’s Southland Conference tournament in Katy, Texas.
Freshman Tia Charles paced the Colonels with a game-high 11 points.
After Central Arkansas (17-12, 10-7 SLC) came within four points with 2:30 remaining in the game, Charles put the game on ice with four free throws down the stretch.