Samford 69, Nicholls St. 53
AMES, Iowa (AP) _ Jonathan Pixley scored 27 points and Samford made 20 of 24 free throws in the final 10 minutes to beat Nicholls State 69-53 Thursday night in the first round of the ISU Holiday Classic.
Samford (4-2) scored 25 of its last 29 points at the free throw line and will play the host team, Iowa State, in Friday night’s championship game. Iowa State advanced with a 50-47 victory over Princeton, which will meet Nicholls State (0-5) in the consolation game.
Joey Davenport added 19 points as Samford broke a two-game losing streak after starting 3-0 for the first time since the 1960-61 season. Kenderick Franklin and Keith Richard led Nicholls State with 14 points each.
Samford never trailed after Pixley hit four free throws to break a 12-12 tie. The Bulldogs led 33-21 at halftime and went up 38-21 on Pixley’s layup and a 3-pointer in the first 1:06 of the second half.
Pixley left the game for 6 minutes after getting his fourth foul with 13:32 left, but Nicholls State never got closer than eight points.
Samford’s only basket in the last 10 minutes, a driving layup by Jeff Taylor with 7:01 remaining, gave the Bulldogs a 53-41 lead. After Roy Randle’s 3-pointer drew Nicholls State to 53-44, Pixley hit eight straight free throws and Davenport made six to keep Samford in control.
Samford finished 32-for-40 at the line. Nicholls State made just eight of 20 free throws but had six more field goals than Samford.