Cajuns Knock Off League-Leading Georgia Southern for Fourth Straight Win
Jay Wright tied his career high with 20 points and Shawn Long recorded his 50th career double double to lead the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns to a 68-58 win over Sun Belt leader Georgia Southern before 3,937 at the CAJUNDOME.
Wright, who hails from Rincon, GA, about 40 miles from Statesboro, scored 13 points the first half. He finished shooting 7-14 from the field including 4-5 from three point range. He also added two rebounds, four assists and two steals. In addition, Wright held Georgia Southern's Jelani Hewitt to 6-19 shooting on the night, including just 1-10 from three point range.
Long's 50 double doubles are the most by an active player in Division I basketball. His eleven point scoring night moved him past Ed McCauley (1952-55) into ninth place on the Cajuns' all time scoring list with 1,605 points.
Hayward Register was also in double digits for the Cajuns (17-12, 11-7 Sun Belt), scoring 14 points, which included 4-7 in three point attempts.
Hewitt scored 17 points, one off his average, to lead the Eagles (20-7, 13-5), who dropped back into a three way tie for first place with UL Monroe and Georgia State. Curtis Diamond added 14 as the only other player in double figures.
The Cajuns' defense held the Eagles to just 25.7% shooting in the second half (9-35) and 34.9% for the game. It's the third straight game that the Cajuns have held their opponents under 40% shooting.
The Cajuns jumped out to an 11-2 lead on triples from Wright, Long and Register, but the Eagles trimmed the lead to two points, 18-16 on Hewitt's only three point basket of the night at the 9:23 mark of the first half. The Cajuns then went on a 9-0 run, as Johnathan Stove hit on an old fashioned three point play, Devonta Walker scored on a layup and two free throws and Wright followed with a jumper to give the Cajuns their biggest lead of the first half, 27-26 with 7:15 left.
Georgia Southern answered, however, outscoring the Cajuns 17-5 over the next six minutes to take their only lead of the first half, 33-32 with 1:17 remaining until intermission. Long's dunk off a Jay Wright miss gave the Cajuns a 34-33 lead at intermission.
Trent Wiedeman scored on a three point play to open the second half and give Georgia Southern a 36-34 lead, but Bryce Washington's jumper tied the game 39 seconds later and Louisiana took the lead for good on a Stove triple with 18:04 to go. . Register hit a trio of three point baskets over the next five minutes to help Louisiana to a 21-8 run that reopened the eleven point margin, 55-44 midway through the second half.
Jake Allsmiller's third triple of the game from the left corner with 2:47 to go cut the Cajuns' lead to three points, 61-58 with 2:47 to go, but Georgia Southern would not score again. Kasey Shepherd's clutch three pointer gave the Cajuns' a six point margin with 1:10 to play, and Shepherd and Long hit four free throws in the final minute for the ten point margin.
The Cajuns out rebounded Georgia Southern 41-33 and hit 12-24 from beyond the arc, while the Eagles made 7-25 (28%).
The win kept the Cajuns in fourth place, one game ahead of UT Arlington, who defeated Arkansas-Little Rock Saturday night.
Louisiana will honor seniors Xavian Rimmer, Brian Williams and Aaron Leblanc Thursday night when they entertain UALR in the final home game of the season.