Trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half, the Nicholls fought to within one of the visiting Sam Houston State Bearkats twice. Gatlin's three pointer came with the Colonels down 53-52. Four minutes later, Aaron Harwell hit a three with the Kats ahead only 57-56. The trey sparked an 11-3 run for SHSU to put the Bearkats out of danger.
The Colonels (4-12, 0-4 SLC) got 16 points from Trevon Lewis and 13 from Dantrell Thomas.
Sam Houston (7-10, 1-2 SLC) had four players in double figures with Konner Tucker scoring 15 and Steven Werner and Marcus James each adding 13 points. Gatline was 4-of-4 from three point range and 5-of-8 for the day. The Bearkats hit 50 percent from the field (22-of-44).
With the score 53-38 in favor of Sam with 14:49 left in the second period, the Colonels finally put together a strong rally, going on a 14-0 run to pull within one of the Bearkats with less than half of the game left.
Sam jumped back out to a five point lead after a made 3-pointer by Gatlin and free throws by Marcus James, but four-straight points by Jeremy Smith kept the Colonels within a possession of the Bearkats again.
However, it was the last time Nicholls came that close to SHSU, as the Bearkats outscored the Colonels 10-2 over the next four minutes to take a 68-58 lead with less than 90 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Colonels committed ten more fouls than the opposition (25-15) and it showed at free throw line. The Bearkats went 24-of-34 at the line while Nicholls went to the charity stripe just 19 times, making 13.
Fouls also played a pivotal role in the game as technical fouls were assessed to both teams at one point during the game, including one on SHSU's Antuan Bootle that had him ejected from the game.
The first half was tough to the Colonels, as the team made only one shot from the field in the first ten minutes of the game. Nicholls scored nine of their first 11 points from the free throw line before Chris Talkington hit a 3-pointer at the 10:40 mark.
Nicholls only hit 8-of-21 shots from the field in the half and trailed the Bearkats 36-29 after Sam shot 60-percent from the floor in the period alone. Sam continued to shoot well in the second for a 41-percent clip and finished the game hitting 50-percent to the Colonels' 44-percent FG percentage.
The Colonel bench outscored the Bearkats 31-18, but the Kats had the edge in second chance points (14-8) and points off of turnovers (27-15).