Cajuns fall to Raiders in OT
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team erased a 21-point hole in the first to force overtime before falling 93-91 to Middle Tennessee at the Cajundome on Saturday night.
UL (3-12, 1-3 Sun Belt) had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds on free throws but only one of three attempts fell.
Free throws were the theme of the evening as a total of 64 fouls were called in the game. Middle Tennessee (7-9, 2-1 SBC) was 31-of-49 (83.7 percent) from the line on the night while the Cajuns were 32-of-49 (65.3 percent). A combined eight players fouled out of the contest.
After falling behind by double digits in the first half, the Cajuns’ defense started off strong in the second half. UL allowed MT just one made field goal through the first eight minutes. The Cajuns took advantage and put together a 16-3 run to bring the deficit back to single digits, 53-56, at the 11:13 mark.
A lay-up from Courtney Wallace brought the margin to one, 55-56, before Middle Tennessee finally hit a lay-up and converted a free throw with 10:19 remaining to hold a four-point edge.
The Blue Raiders managed to maintain the lead over the next five minutes. Scottie Farrington hit two free throws but UL was still down, 63-68, with 4:36 left in the game.
A breakaway dunk from Bryant Mbamalu pulled UL to within one possession, 67-70, at the 3:51 mark.
A three-point shot from Randell Daigle shaved MT’s lead to just one point with 1:31 remaining. Daigle then connected on two free throws to reclaim the lead, 76-75 with 1:00 remaining.
MT would make a lay-up with 45 seconds remaining to retake a one-point lead but with 33.3 ticks on the clock, Bureau made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the contest at 77-77.
A foul on the inbound sent the Raiders back to the line where they knocked down both, but no time ran off the clock.
Daigle had a chance to knot the score back up with 20.4 seconds left but failed to connect on his second free throw.
A quick foul put MT back on the line but they failed to convert both chances. A foul after the second missed free throw sent Gary to the line for UL.
The senior forward made both to even the score 80-80 with 17.8 seconds left.
Middle Tennessee took the lead with 5.2 seconds but Daigle hit a jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
Daigle hit the first basket of extra time but a quick four points swung the score back to the visitors, 86-84.
The teams would trade free throws before MT hit a pair to take a 90-86 lead with 24.6 seconds remaining.
Raymone Andrews made a lay-up with 18.3 before a quick foul sent Middle back to the line where they made just 1-of-2.
Andrews hit another lay-up with 6.5 seconds. Two free throws from MT made it a three-point game.
A foul on a three-point attempt with 1.4 seconds left sent Daigle to the line. After missing the first one, he connected on the second. In an attempt to get a put back, the rebound went awry sealing Middle Tennessee’s win.
To start the game, the Cajuns scored first claiming a 3-0 lead. But the Blue Raiders scored 13 unanswered points before La’Ryan Gary hit a floater in the lane at the 13:49 mark. Yet another 5-0 run from MT put the visitors up 18-5 with 12:49 remaining.
The Cajuns scored nine unanswered points of their own to cut into the Blue Raiders’ lead, 14-18, by the 11:21 mark.
A three-pointer from Travis Bureau, with 8:18 remaining, snapped another MT as the Cajuns found themselves behind, 17-27.
The 10-point difference was the closest the Cajuns would come to the visitors’ lead for the remainder of the half as hot shooting from Middle Tennessee helped build a 53-37 lead at the half. The Blue Raiders were 15-of-26 (57.7 percent) from the floor compared to UL’s 11-of-27 effort (40.7 percent).
Gary led UL with 20 points, tying his career-high. Farrington recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and a season-best 10 rebounds. Bureau finished with 14 while Daigle finished with 13.
The Cajuns shot 50 percent on the night (27-54) compared to Blue Raiders’ 45.1 percent performance (23-51). MT bested UL on the boards, 36-29.