NATCHITOCHES, La. — Sabri Thompson scored a career-high 38 points, and his pair of clutch free throws with 21 seconds left helped Northwestern State squeak past Nicholls State 86-81 on Thursday night.

Northwestern State (7-8, 1-3 Southland) trailed by as many as 13 and used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to grab a 54-52 lead. Nicholls State fought back into the lead four more times, the last when Ja’Dante’ Frye converted a 3-point play for a 76-75 lead with just under two minutes to go. Ishmael Lane answered for Northwestern State with a jump shot and Nicholls came within 82-79 on a Stevie Repichowski 3.

Thompson was fouled on an inbounds play after a timeout and made both shots from the line, putting the game out of reach.

Thompson hit seven of Northwestern State’s eight 3-pointers — four after halftime — and Tra’von Joseph tossed in 14 points with 13 rebounds.

Frye led Nicholls (9-8, 2-2) with 23 points.