Thomas scores 24; New Orleans beats Abilene Christian 75-66 (Dec 29, 2016)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Erik Thomas scored 24 points and New Orleans pulled away in the final 6:45 to beat Abilene Christian 75-66 on Thursday night in a Southland Conference opener.

The Privateers (6-6, 1-0) were down nine points at halftime, but opened the second half on a 26-15 spurt, capped by Michael Zeno’s 3-point play, to take a 56-54 lead. The Wildcats led 59-58 with about seven minutes left before Nate Frye made a 3-pointer, sparking New Orleans on a 17-7 run to end it. Frye scored eight of his 10 points during the stretch, while Thomas added six points.

Thomas was 8 of 14 from the field, made 8 of 11 free throws and grabbed eight rebounds.

Jaren Lewis scored 19 points and had eight rebounds to lead Abilene Christian (6-6, 0-1). Jalone Friday chipped in 10 points.