Cajuns Big Run Knocks Off McNeese, 85-80
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns started slowly, but a 20-2 run over a five minute period helped Louisiana build a lead and the Cajuns held off a late McNeese State rally, 85-80 at the Cajundome Saturday night.
Louisiana struggled with its offense over most of the first half and trailed 31-21 with 1:50 to go in the first stanza. But the Cajuns closed with an 11-2 run to trail 33-32 at the half and reeled off the first ten points of the second half and never trailed again, to the delight of the 4,233 in attendance.
Cedric Russell led the big run for the Cajuns and finished with 22 points. Jalen Johnson added 21, while Kobe Julien chipped in 15 points. Dou Gueye, who was saddled with foul trouble most of the game, made some big shots down the stretch and finished with 11 points.
The Cowboys led by as many as 13 points in the first half and had a ten point lead after a pair of three throws. Julien answered with a pair of free throws to begin the run and Calvin Temple followed with a three pointer. After A. J. Lawson hit a bucket, Louisiana closed with triples from Kristian Lafayette and Johnson to cut the lead to one.
Russell opened the second half with a layup to give the Cajuns their first lead of the contest. Gueye followed with a layup of his own, Russell hit a triple and Julien followed with a dunk to close the big run, giving the Cajuns a 41-33 lead.
McNeese trailed by five, 47-42, but Russell hit three straight triples to give the Cajuns their biggest lead, 56-42, with 11:38 remaining. The Cajuns led 77-67 with 1:29 to play, but had a couple of crucial turnovers that led to a 12-3 run that cut the lead to a single point with :29 remaining. But the Cajuns hit four of five free throws down the stretch to keep the Cowboys at bay.
McNeese (0-2) placed five in double figures for the contest, led by Dru Kuxhausen with 18 points. Lawson scored twelve, while former Cajun Roydell Brown and Leondre Washington had eleven apiece. Sha'Marcus Kennedy scored ten before fouling out with 4:56 remaining.
The Cajuns (2-0) shot 43 percent for the game and hit 10-26 from three point range, with Russell nailing five triples. McNeese shot 46 percent for the game and made 6-16 from the bonusphere. The Cowboys hit 20-29 free throws while the Cajuns made 15-20. The teams battled to a 38-38 tie on the boards.
The difference in the game was turnovers, as the Cowboys had 22 miscues, while the Cajuns had only ten. Louisiana led in points off turnovers, 21-7.