Burkhardt buzzer-beater lands win over Colonels


David Zieske

Joe Kasperzyk drives towards the net as he slides past a defending Colonel.

The Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team had a comeback ending to a rough game as the Lions beat Nicholls State University 83-81. 

The Lions’ win looked dim as the team was down by 21 at the 16:36 mark of the second half, but a comeback and a buzzer-beater made the crowd roar in the University Center Saturday, Feb. 26. 

SLU’s adaptive game-plan majorly influenced the comeback for the Lions going into the second half of the game, with head coach David Kiefer emphasizing that the defense needed to focus on their leading point scorers to lock down the Colonels to make a comeback achievable. 

“We are big on defense tells you the play. We are not a robotic team that has to do this and that. However, they are guarding you is how we are going to react. Playing basketball the right way, sharing the basketball, playing with each other and not taking selfish shots,” Kiefer said about their offensive second half shift of playstyle. 

Nicholls’ guard Ty Gordon scored 26 in the first half against the Lions, which a locker room change of plan at the half stopped Gordan’s dominance to just seven points in the second half — further putting a stop to the Colonel’s momentum and reliance on Gordon throughout the 2nd half, which shook up NSUs’ scheme. 

With defense taken care of, the Lions’ offense needed to show up, which is where guard Joe Kasperzyk and guard/forward Gus Okafor came into importance. Kasperzyk went 10-15 with shooting overall, three free throws, two steals and scored a total of 21 points, with Okafor scoring 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Lions. 

Lions’ guard Keon Clergot scored 12 points with six much-needed free throws, and forward Jalyn Hinton had 12 points and seven rebounds, significantly assisting SLU in completing the comeback against the colonels. 

“Man, we are going to win together or lose together, so either way, we are going to play for each other. So we just went out there. We don’t have anything to lose. We were already down 21. Played our hardest, the game went our way and just finish,” Kasperzyk said. 

The Lions played their hearts out in the second half, leading to an incredible last-second tip-in by guard Ryan Burkhardt, sealing the comeback win for SLU 83-81. Burkhardt scored 10 points on the night but most importantly came in clutch at the 00:00 mark. 

SLU looks to finish the season with another win over Northwestern State on the road Saturday, March 5. at 3 p.m. to put the Lions in an excellent position for the Southland Tournament.