Cajuns Outlast Warhawks in Overtime, 72-65
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns came back from an eleven point second half deficit, squandered a six point lead, then held UL Monroe without a field goal in the overtime period to win their seventh straight game, defeating the Warhawks 72-65 at the Cajundome Tuesday night.
Shawn Long scored a season high 28 points and hauled down 17 rebounds to lead the Cajuns (12-8, 8-3 Sun Belt). Twelve of his points and twelve of his rebounds came in the final 5:42 of regulation and in overtime. In the overtime alone, Long had six points and seven rebounds.
The win was the 100th of Coach Bob Marlin's Cajuns' career and the fifth straight time the Cajuns have won in overtime. Louisiana is now 14-5 in overtime games under Marlin.
It was also the first time the Cajuns, who trailed 33-32 at the break, won a game when they trailed at halftime.
ULM (10-12, 6-5) saw its four game winning streak come to an end.
Leading 38-37 with 15:52 to play, ULM got a three point basket and layup from Nick Coppola to jumpstart a 14-4 run that put the Warhawks on top. 52-41 with 10:50 to play as ULM hit eight of their first 14 shots after intermission.
"We had a stretch where we didn't defend at all," head coach Bob Marlin said. "But we got a couple of steals that turned into easy baskets for us and that jumpstarted us defensively." The Warhawks went just 4-16 from the field in the final 15 minutes, including the overtime period.
After Justin Roberson's layup gave ULM the eleven point lead, Louisiana went on a 19-2 run to take the lead. Johnathan Stove hit a pair of free throws and Kasey Shepherd got a steal and a layup that cut the lead to seven. After Roberson hit a layup, the Cajuns scored the next fifteen points as Stove made a free throw, Jay Hedgeman made a three pointer from the corner, Shepherd drove for a layup, Long made four free throws and Hayward Register made a triple, got a steal and a layup to give Louisiana a 60-54 lead with 4:43 to play.
"Our crowd (3,749) was great tonight," said Marlin. "That's the loudest it's been in the Cajundome in quite some time."
After DeMondre Harvey hit a jumper to break the Cajuns' run, Long got a dunk on an offensive rebound with 1:38 to go to put the Cajuns up by six. But Harvey hit a layup and a free throw to cut the lead to three with 1;17 to play and after Stove missed a shot inside, Roberson tied it on a three point play with :52 left. Bryce Washington hit a layup after a perfect pass from Long with :32 left, but Majok Deng made two free throws with :22 to go to tie the game. It was Deng's only two points after halftime after scoring 30 against the Cajuns in Monroe. Shepherd's three point attempt at the buzzer was short, sending the game into overtime.
Neither team scored in the overtime until Long got a dunk on a pass from Hedgeman to give the Cajuns the lead for good with 3:32 left. Roberson made a free throw, but Wright hit a 19-foot jumper with 2:56 left to give the Cajuns a three point lead, 68-65. ULM had three chances to tie the game, the last when Long blocked a shot by Roberson and got the rebound with :12 remaining. Long then hit four free throws to clinch the win.
ULM was led by Roberson's 21 points, while Jamaal Samuel scored 17, including 5-10 from three point range. Deng was held to 13 points on 4-15 shooting. Stove had 13 points to join Long in double figure scoring and also contributed seven rebounds.
For the game, ULM shot 24-62 while the Cajuns were 24-63. The Warhawks won the three point battle, hitting 8-22 (36.4%) while the Cajuns were 5-21 (23.%). The Cajuns shot 19-26 from the free throw line (73.1%) including their last eight in a row. ULM was 9-12.
The Cajuns enjoyed a 51-30 advantage on the boards, with Long, Stove and Washington combining for as many rebounds (30) as ULM had as a team. Deng and Harvey led ULM with seven rebounds apiece.
The Cajuns will have a quick turnaround, traveling to Boone, NC to face Appalachian State Thursday night at 6:30.