Cajuns’ Defense Stymies Jaguars, 76-57
Malik Marquetti scored a career high 21 points and Bryce Washington celebrated his 22nd birthday by moving into fourth place on the all time Sun Belt rebounding list as Louisiana defeated South Alabama 76-57 for its eighth straight win.
Marquetti scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half as the Cajuns (18-3, 8-0 Sun Belt) withstood a 12-0 Jaguars' run and took a 34-29 lead into the locker room at halftime. JaKeenan Gant scored 15 of his 16 points after intermission and Frank Bartley IV added 11 points for the Cajuns.
Washington's 16 rebounds gave him 976 in his career and now stands alone in fourth place, with Little Rock's Muntrelle Dobbins (1,014) next on the list.
Trhae Mitchell led the Jaguars (11-10, 4-4) with 16 points, while Josh Ajaye added 13. Rodrick Sikes, who led the league in scoring in conference games entering the contest, was held to 1-10 shooting and scored only six points.
"We didn't play very well offensively and still won by 19," head coach Bob Marlin said. "This game was won on the defensive end. Frank Bartley did a great job on Sikes and we dominated the glass in the second half." The Cajuns won the rebounding battle 41-25, outrebounding the Jaguars 24-9 in the second half.
The Cajuns won before a crowd of 5,036, the second largest crowd of the season.
The Cajuns were sloppy on offense at times, turning the ball over 20 times, but shot 48.1% for the game, making 12-24 from three point range. Marquetti tied his career high with five triples.
Louisiana led 27-14 at the 8:53 mark of the first half, but then went over five minutes without scoring, as the Jags went on a 13-0 run to tie the game at 27 after a Mitchell free throw. But Marquetti nailed one from the bonusphere at the 3:11 mark to put the Cajuns back in front and added a couple of free throws, giving the Cajuns a five point lead at at the break.
Leading 49-43 with 12:52 to play, Louisiana streaked to a 19-2 run over the next seven minutes to take its biggest lead, 66-45 with 5:42 left. Gant started the run with a dunk off a Washington miss, Washington hit a jumper, Bartley nailed a three and after Joe Thompson scored for South Alabama, Marquetti hit a jumper and Gant and Marquetti followed with three pointers to up the lead to 19. Johnathan Stove's two free throws ended the run.
The Cajuns played without sophomore forward Justin Miller, who missed the game with a head injury. Marlin said Miller would be unavailable for Saturday as well.