Nicholls State edges New Orleans 88-83

THIBODAUX, La. -- Jeremy Smith scored 17 points and Dantrell Thomas 16 as Nicholls State defeated New Orleans 88-83 in a Southland Conference opener on Thursday night that featured 104 free-throw attempts.

T.J. Carpenter, Ja'Dante' Frye and Amin Torres added 10 points apiece for the Colonels (4-6).

Four Nicholls State players and two from New Orleans fouled out in a game with 72 fouls. The Colonels converted 27 of 43 free throws and the Privateers 42 of 61.

Cory Dixon led the Privateers (3-6) with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Traddarius McPhearson added 14 points, Matt Derenbecker 13, Christavious Gill 11 and Isaac Mack 10.

The Privateers trailed the entire second half. Down by five points with 12 seconds left, they got no closer after a missed shot and a turnover.

The game was the first conference contest for New Orleans since it was a Sun Belt member in the 2009-10 season.