Louisiana Basketball Loses 82-73 to Texas State in the Cajundome
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball team fought hard with Texas State, but a late run by the Bobcats handed them another Sun Belt loss in the Cajundome.
With the 82-73 loss, Louisiana is now 10-12 overall and 5-7 in conference play. They have lost seven of their last nine games after starting 3-0 in the Sun Belt. That includes a 1-4 record at home in that same stretch. Head coach Bob Marlin complimented the Bobcats after the game.
"Their three all-conference guys got 51 points between them," Marlin said. "They were really good tonight. We had the game right there, but we weren't able to pull it out. We couldn't capitalize once we got the lead. They've got a good team. They made good plays, and their experience was a factor tonight."
Louisiana forward Kobe Julien scored the team's first seven points, but Texas State hit each of their first seven shot attempts to start the game and took a 19-7 lead with a 12-0 run. Finally, the Cajuns got some stops and went on a 9-0 run to get back into the game.
A three-pointer by guard Brayan Au tied the game at 19 midway through the first half, and a layup by forward Joe Charles stretched the run to 14-0. After making their first seven shots, Texas State went cold and missed seven straight. The Bobcats went seven minutes without a made field goal. Another three by Au made it 24-20 before Texas State finally broke the 17-1 run with a three.
Julien gave the Cajuns the lead with his third three of the first half, but Texas State tied it at 29 with their sixth team three-pointer. The Bobcats continued to punish Louisiana's turnovers with threes. Texas State went on a 15-2 run to take a 41-31 lead.
Louisiana guard Greg Williams Jr. drilled a shot from long range right before halftime, and the Cajuns trailed 41-36 at the break.
Two stats went against the Cajuns in the first half. Texas State was on fire, hitting eight of their 13 three pointers, but they also turned 11 Louisiana turnovers in the first half into 21 points. They were +14 on points off of turnovers.
Louisiana's offense went five minutes without a made field goal after forward Dou Gueye started the second half with a layup, and Texas State's lead increased to 49-43. Forward Theo Akwuba's put-back layup ended the streak. Julien's fourth three-pointer got the Cajuns within one, but the Bobcats answered with their own three.
Louisiana got a huge five-point trip to tie the game at 56. Julien was fouled on a made layup, and, after he missed the free throw, a Charles offensive rebound set up a three by guard Kentrell Garnett.
Julien continued his strong play, tying the game at 60 with a layup. The Cajuns took the lead on two made free throws by Garnett, but Texas State hit a jumper. The Bobcats hit three straight shots to take advantage of an extended field goal drought by Louisiana with a 6-0 run to go up 68-63.
The game started to become a free throw shooting contest late in the second half with both teams in the double bonus. Texas State hit six straight free throws, and with Louisiana's field goal drought reaching over five minutes, they suddely trailed by nine points with two minutes left. Garnett finally broke the streak with a three to make it 74-68.
The Bobcats answered with a layup, and Charles hit a three to cut the lead back to five. However, a jumper extended it back to seven points at 78-71 with just over a minute remaining. A crucial turnover effectively ended the game, as the Cajuns had to foul Texas State who was excellent from the free throw line. Once again, they hit two more shots from the stripe.
A block set up a jumper and The Bobcats went on another 6-0 run. Texas State hit six of their final eight shots and did not miss from the free throw line to put away Louisiana late. They left the Cajundome with an 82-73 win and swept the season series against the Cajuns.
Both teams shot well overall. Louisiana didn't have a poor performance on offense, but Texas State was just better. The Bobcats shot 50% overall, hit 10 of 17 threes, and were 22-27 from the free throw line. For the Cajuns, Julien had a huge 22-point night on 9-15 shooting, but Au was the only other player in double-digits with 10 points.
Marlin said the team needs to figure out how to close games better. In this rough stretch, they've had late leads that they just haven't been able to hold. This loss was similar.
"We'll have to play better than we did tonight," Marlin said. "We've been right there in these games, but we just have not been able to finish. There's something I'm not giving them from a toughness standpoint that we can't pull these ones out. We're going to go back to the practice court and film room to get ready for Saturday."
Up next, Louisiana hosts the UT-Arlington Mavericks on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 2:00 p.m. The Mavericks started the Cajuns' downward spiral in conference play when they beat them 83-73 in Arlington, Texas on January 13th. Louisiana will have an opportunity to avenge that loss.