Rough Second Half Dooms Louisiana in 77-70 Loss to South Alabama
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball team was crushed in the second half and lost 77-70 to the South Alabama Jaguars at the Cajundome.
Louisiana has now lost three straight conference games after starting 3-0 in Sun Belt play. They're currently 8-8 overall.
The Cajuns played excellent defense in the first half, but they failed to put the game away before halftime. In a game that should have been a blowout early, the Jaguars entered the break trailing by only six points, and then they caught fire in the second half.
Head coach Bob Marlin was disappointed in the team's guard play and second half defense after the loss.
"They changed their defense and our guards didn't play the game we needed from them for sure," Marlin said. "Turnovers were an issue. We turned the ball over left and right."
Louisiana finished with 10 total assists, but they turned the ball over 15 times.
"Our guys just didn't have the defensive energy in the second half," Marlin said. "It's disappointing."
The Cajuns defense was excellent in the first half. South Alabama hit only four of their first 20 shot attempts and the Cajuns jumped out to a 22-11 lead.
However, Louisiana's offense went cold, going the final nine minutes of the first half without a made field goal. South Alabama cut the lead to 26-20 entering halftime.
This was the missed opportunity for the Cajuns. The Jaguars made only seven of their 30 shot attempts and were 2-13 from three in the first half, but they were within striking distance. Louisiana dominated the boards early, out-rebounding the Jaguars 27-12. Forward Jordan Brown had a good first half with 13 points and nine rebounds.
A layup by forward Theo Akwuba broke an 11 minute drought without a field goal, and the Cajuns stretched their lead back out to 10 points at 30-20.
However, this was when the Jaguars started catching fire, hitting eight straight shots and using a 12-4 run to take a 40-39 lead. It was their first lead since the score was 5-4 early on.
Louisiana answered and held a 48-45 lead, but the onslaught of made field goals from the Jaguars continued. They went on an extended 18-2 run to take a commanding 66-50 lead with four minutes remaining after the Cajuns went six minutes without a made field goal.
Guard Jalen Dalcourt scored five quick points and the Cajuns went on a late 7-0 run to cut the lead to 71-65 with 42 seconds left.
However, each team hit their late free throw attempts, and the Jaguars left the Cajundome with a 77-70 win.
South Alabama was incredible from the field in the second half. After only hitting seven of their first 30 shots before the break, they made 21 of their 28 shot attempts in the second half. They also hit all six of their three point attempts in the frame.
Louisiana simply got out-played in the second half. The Cajuns defense couldn't get a stop after halftime , and their offense had costly scoring droughts in both halves.
Up next, the Cajuns will look to end their losing streak when they host the Troy Trojans on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 p.m.