Cajuns’ Comeback Falls Short, 68-64
And the streak ends.
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns stormed back from a 13 point second half deficit and trailed by just one point late before Little Rock held on to take a 68-64 win before 5,347 Saturday at the Cajundome.
The loss snapped the Cajuns' nine game winning streak and put an end to the twelve game home court streak dating back to last season.
"We gave up way too many drives tonight," Cajuns' head coach Bob Marlin said. "I don't think our "4" men did a very good job defensively. Woods got free too many times and Hagins hit some really big shots for them."
Little Rock (22-3, 12-2 Sun Belt) was led by Bossier City native Josh Hagins who scored 18 points on 7-11 shooting, including 3-3 from three point range. Roger Woods added 14 points for the Trojans.
Johnathon Stove scored a season high 18 points for the Cajuns (14-9, 10-4) while Shawn Long added 12 points and notched his 70th career double double with 12 rebounds. Bryce Washington added ten points in the loss.
The Cajuns trailed 61-48 at the 4:25 mark of the second half when the rally began. Steven Wronkoski hit a three point basket, only the second made triple of the game by the Cajuns who shot 3-19 for the game. Hagins hit a layup but Wronkoski connected again just seconds later to cut the lead to single digits. Bryce Washington scored inside but Hagins answered with a jumper to make it 65-56 at the 2:06 mark.
Stove hit a pair of free throws and after a Little Rock turnover, Long got his only points of the second half to make it 65-60 with 1:13 left. Stove followed with two more free throws after a Trojans' miss, and Jay Wright's steal led to an Elijah McGuire basket to cut the lead to 65-64 with :27 left.
But Roger Woods hit a pair of free throws to make it a three point game and the ball was knocked away from Stove on the ensuing possession. The Cajuns got the loose ball but Hayward Register's desperation three pointer was short and Hagins hit another free throw in the final second for the winning margin.
"We missed open look after open look in the first half," Marlin said as the Cajuns shot just 9-27, including 1-12 from three point range before intermission as Little Rock built an eleven point lead, 38-27 at the half. "But I'm proud of our guys with the way they battled even though we weren't shooting it well."
The Cajuns' only lead of the game came on a pair of Long free throws. The Cajuns last tie was 18-18 at the 8:20 mark. But the Trojans then went on an 18-4 run as Little Rock hit a half dozen layups including a pair of three point plays to take a 36-22 lead.
LIttle Rock wound up shooting 52.9% (27-51) and made 4-7 from the bonusphere and 10-13 from the free throw line. Louisiana shot 54.5% in the second half, finishing at 42.9% (21-49) in the contest. Free throw shooting kept them in the game, as the Cajuns were 19-23 (82.6%) with Stove a perfect 10-10. The Cajuns outrebounded Little Rock 30-25 in the game. Both teams took care of the basketball, with Little Rock turning the ball over just eight times while the Cajuns were whistled for ten turnovers.
Louisiana now hits the road for a four game swing beginning Thursday at UT Arlington with tipoff set for 7:05pm.