Cajuns Dominate, Then Hold on for 88-82 Win
For 35 minutes Saturday night, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns dominated their opponent.
The last five minutes made it interesting.
Louisiana (14-7, 4-4 Sun Belt) jumped out to a 20 point halftime lead, maintained it for 15 minutes in the second half, then withstood a furious Little Rock rally to take an 88-82 win before 3,812 at the Cajundome.
"We played really good basketball until the last five minutes," head coach Bob Marlin said. But give them credit. Johnson really heated up and we got careless with the basketball. But we made our last eight free throws and that kept them at bay."
The Cajuns, paced in the first half by Frank Bartley and freshman Jerekious Davis, roared out to a 45-25 halftime lead. Bartley had 16 of his 20 points in the first half, while Davis had eleven of his career high 17. Louisiana shot 66.7% in the first half, hitting 16-24 field goal attempts while Little Rock (12-9, 3-5) hit just nine first half field goals.
The Cajuns and Trojans matched each other in the second half and Louisiana led 80-58 with 4:39 remaining after Davis hit a jumper.
But that would be the last field goal the Cajuns would make.
Little Rock then started making shots from everywhere and a 12-0 run got the Trojans within ten points at 80-70 with 1:17 to play. Marcus Johnson, Jr. scored seven of his game-high 23 points during that span. The Cajuns committed seven of their season-high 21 turnovers during the final 4:21.
The Cajuns were able to hold off the Trojans thanks to an 8-8 stretch from the free throw line during the final 44 seconds. Jay Wright, Johnathan Stove, Justin Miller and Bartley all were perfect from the charity stripe.
The Cajuns placed six in double figures for the first time since a 92-82 win over South Alabama last season. In addition to Bartley and Davis, Bryce Washington scored 17 points, Miller and Wright each had twelve and Stove scored ten.
Marius Hill helped the Trojans' cause with 17 points on 6-10 shooting while Deondre Burns added twelve.
Louisiana shot 61.7 percent (29-47) from the field including a season high ten field goals from three point range (10-20). The Cajuns outrebounded the visitors 32-19 and had 19 assists on their 29 field goals, led by Miller with seven. The freshman also led the Cajuns in rebounding with nine.
The Cajuns are back in action Monday night against Arkansas State