The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns basketball team got out to an early lead but lost to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Ruston 78-69.

Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin was disappointed after his team fell to 5-4 in 2021.

"I thought we played well enough to win," Marlin said. "We felt at halftime we should have been up a dozen. We couldn't push the game away like we needed to early."

 

Sophomore forward Jordan Brown had a career day and got out to a hot start for Louisiana, scoring a quick nine points. Brown's start and a three-pointer by freshman forward Joe Charles gave the Cajuns an early 12-6 lead.

A three by Brown stretched the lead to 15-6, but Louisiana's offense shut down thanks to six turnovers in three minutes. La Tech went on a 9-1 run to cut the lead to one point. A put-back shot by Brown ended a field goal drought that lasted over five minutes for the Cajuns.

Brown continued to dominate, reaching 18 points on 8-10 shooting after he hit a pair of layups. Louisiana held a 25-19 lead late in the first half. A hook-shot by Brown and another three by Charles stretched the lead back out to nine points.

La Tech scored the last six points of the first half after Louisiana went on a three-minute scoring drought. The Cajuns still took a 34-31 lead into halftime, but they missed an opportunity to put the Bulldogs away early.

At the break, each team had a statistic that needed to be fixed in the second half. For Louisiana, Marlin said that he wanted the turnover number to be around 14 for the entire game. The Cajuns had 12 in the first half. La Tech's biggest issue was three-point shooting. The Bulldogs were 0-13 from long range at the break. Louisiana also won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding La Tech 22-14.

The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game at 39-38 less than three minutes into the second half. Brown answered with four straight to continue his career day.

The Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run, and Brown picked up his fourth foul with 12 minutes remaining. The Cajuns star went to the bench, and La Tech took advantage.

Their offense stayed hot in the second half, but a pair of shots by freshman guard Kentrell Garnett and senior forward Dou Gueye had Louisiana back within a point at 59-58.

The Bulldogs made 12 of their first 17 shot attempts in the second half. Their lead was 66-63 with only three minutes remaining. Brown hit his 12th shot, but a goaltending call, a turnover, and a questionable blocking call gave La Tech their largest lead of the day at seven points with 90 seconds remaining. Another turnover basically sunk Louisiana's chances of pulling off the win in Ruston.

After converting a few late free throws, the Bulldogs won 78-69. Brown finished with a career-high 30 points for the Cajuns, but it wasn't enough.

La Tech scored 47 second half points on a very efficient 15-23 shooting. They were also 13-15 from the free throw line in the second half. Free throw shooting was a huge factor in the game. The Bulldogs went 20-24 from the line, while Louisiana only made six of their nine attempts. Both teams had similar shooting percentages with the Cajuns going 28-57 from the field while the Bulldogs went 27-56.

Coach Marlin talked about the free throw difference between the two teams.

"It was a continuous parade to the free throw line," Marlin said. "That was critical. A couple of calls went against us. We didn't get to the line like they did. That was the difference."

Up next, Louisiana plays a road matchup against the Houston Cougars on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 7:00 p.m. Houston is 7-1 this season and ranked 14th in the AP poll.

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