Cajuns’ Furious Rally Falls Short at Georgia State
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns rallied back from a 20 point deficit, but misfired on an attempt to take the lead in the final seconds and Georgia State held on for an 85-82 win over the Cajuns before 1,951 at the GSU Sports Arena.
Louisiana (14-9, 4-6 SBC) trailed 82-71 after a three point basket by Jeff Thomas with 5:29 left. But the Cajuns then went on an 11-2 run with Johnathan Stove's layup cutting the lead to 83-82 with :55 remaining. Jeremy Hollowell missed a three point attempt with :29 to play. The Cajuns called timeout with :17 to go to set up a play, but Bryce Washington missed inside and D"Marcus Simonds hit a pair of free throws with 3.9 seconds left for the final margin.
"We called a timeout and set up a play for Bryce," head coach Bob Marlin said after the game. "We pretty much got the shot we wanted. We would have liked for it to be in a little closer but it just didn't work out that way."
Georgia State (15-7, 8-2) took a 27-17 lead at the 9:47 mark of the first half and then went on a 10-0 run to take its biggest lead on a layup by Simonds. The Cajuns cut the lead to twelve points after a three point basket by Frank Bartley IV with :19 left, but Malik Benlevi answered with a triple of his own to give the Panthers a 52-37 lead at the break. The Panthers have now won seven in a row.
Bartley hit seven three point baskets to notch a career-high 31 points, making 10-18 from the field. He added six rebounds and four assists. Jay Wright had 20 points and had a team high seven assists without a turnover for the Cajuns, while Washington had his 17th double double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"Jay was just fantastic, especially in the second half," Marlin said. "He had a couple of steals in the final minutes that gave us a chance." Bartley and Wright combined for 51 points, eight rebounds, eleven assists and three steals with just one turnover.
The Cajuns turned the Panthers over 18 times in the game while committing only nine turnovers.
Simonds led the Panthers with 19 points, while Benlevi added 17 and Hollowell chipped in 16, but had just two after halftime.
The Cajuns outscored the Panthers 45-33 after intermission and shot 46. percent for the contest. It's the first game the Cajuns have lost this season when shooting 45% or better from the field. Georgia State shot 57.1 in the first half and 52.5% for the game.
The Cajuns will try to earn a split of the road trip Monday night in Statesboro against Georgia Southern. Game time is 6:00 pm CST.