Cajuns’ Defense Smothers ULM, 82-48
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns missed their first eleven shots from the field Saturday night and didn't score in the first 5:35 of the Sun Belt Conference game against ULM
And yet, only trailed 3-0.
Louisiana used a JaKeenan Gant jumper to jump start a 13-1 run and the Cajuns never looked back in an 82-48 mauling of the Warhawks for their fifth straight conference win of the season and school record 11th straight Sun Belt win dating back to last season.
During the first 8:36 of the contest, the Cajuns held the visitors to 1-8 shooting and forced seven turnovers After Sam Alabakis broke the drought with a layup at the 10:59 mark, the Cajuns went on a 10-2 run to take a 23-8 lead and the game was essentially over.
"I was really proud of our defense tonight," Cajuns coach Bob Marlin said. "We got off to a poor start offensively, but our guys didn't let it effect their defense. We were able to keep them off the board until we got things going on offense."
The Cajuns only shot 39.4% in the first half and were just 3-16 from three point range, but Louisiana (15-3, 5-0 Sun Belt) held ULM to 23.8% (5-21) and kept the league's best three point shooting team scoreless from the bonusphere in the first half. The Cajuns also forced ten ULM turnovers in the first 20 minutes en route to a 33-15 advantage.
Then in the second half, the Cajuns came out on fire.
Louisiana hit their first nine three point attempts after intermission and outscored the Warhawks 24-7 in the first 6:46 in building their lead to 57-22. The league grew to 82-40 with 4:40 to play before settling for the final margin. For the game, the Cajuns hit 14-31 from beyond the arc, including 11-15 in the second half.
The Cajuns used balanced scoring throughout, with Gant sharing scoring honors with Frank Bartley with 12 points apiece. Marcus Stroman had a double double with ten points and ten assists and Jonathan Stove added ten points in just 16 minutes.
Bryce Washington had eight points and twelve rebounds and passed former Cajun great Dion Brown for fourth place in the all time rebounding list with 935.
The crowd of 5,813 was the largest since the Cajundome reopened in December of 2016.
"We really appreciate our fans coming out to see us," Marlin said. "We think we play a pretty exciting brand of basketball and we hope they'll continue to come out in our last six home games."
The Cajuns outrebounded ULM 38-33 and had just seven turnovers to 16 for the Warhawks. Louisiana assisted on 23 of the team's 30 made field goals.
"We're an unselfish bunch...we have been all year," said Marlin. If we continue to do that, we'll continue to have success.
The Cajuns travel to UTA Thursday night.