UL junior guard Elfrid Payton


Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun men’s basketball team returns to the hardwood on Thursday night, when coach Bob Marlin’s squad takes on the UT-Arlington Mavericks, in the second round of the postseason Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Championship at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.

The winner advances to the semifinals to take on second-seeded WKU on Saturday, while the loser is eliminated.

Louisiana, the third-seed, defeated Arkansas St., 77-76, in their regular season finale on Saturday.

The Cajuns, who won eight of their last ten games, finished the regular season at 20-11, overall, and 11-7 in Sun Belt Conference play, good enough for third in the league.

UT-Arlington, the six-seed, defeated ULM, 68-65, in an opening round match-up on Thursday night.

The Mavericks were 14-16, overall, and 9-9 in league play during the regular season, good enough for a fifth-place tie.

Offensively, UL led the conference in scoring during the regular season, averaging 81.4  points-per-game, while UT-Arlington finished third, averaging 76.3 points a contest.

Defensively, the Cajuns ranked ninth in the league, allowing 74.7 points-per-game, while the Mavericks allowed 77.7 points a tilt, which ranked tenth.

Louisiana is led by junior guard Elfrid Payton, who is averaging 19.3 points-per-game, to go along with 5.9 assists-per-game, which rank second and first in the league, respectively, along with sophomore forward Shawn Long, who ranks third in the league in scoring, at 19.2 points-per-game, and first in rebounding, at 10.4, while UT-Arlington is paced by senior guard Reger Dowell, who is the top scorer in the league, averaging 20.2 points-per-game.

The Cajuns won both of the match-ups during the regular season, defeating the Mavericks, 90-70, back on February 25 at the Cajundome, and 92-89 on February 6 in Arlington, Texas.

Louisiana leads the all-time series, 14-5.

Tip-off time is scheduled for 8:30 pm.

You can hear all the play-by-play action on Hot 107.9 & 1079ishot.com, beginning with the pre-game show at 8 o'clock.