Cajuns Roar Back to Top Oakland, 84-75
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns used a 17-4 run in the second half to overcome a twelve point deficit and take the lead for good, and extended the run to 28-7 as the Cajuns came from twelve points down to beat Oakland University 84-75 in the Maui on the Mainland Tournament in Conway, South Carolina Saturday night.
Elfrid Payton scored a career-high 32 points and added seven rebounds, while forward Shawn Long had a big second half, scoring 24 points with 17 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the Cajuns. Steven Wronkoski was the third Cajun in double figures with eleven points.
The Cajuns held sharpshooting guard Travis Bader to just 6-20 shooting, with two of those field goals coming after the Cajuns had the game in hand. Bader’s 19 points were tops for the Grizzlies (0-5), with freshman Kahlil Felder and forward Corey Petros added 14 points apiece, while Mitch Baenziger scored 13. But Baenziger and Bader scored only nine points after intermission.
The Cajuns (3-2) got off to an early 9-0 lead, but Oakland responded with a 10-0 run to take a one point lead. Neither team led by more than four for the rest of the half until Lloyd Neely’s three pointer after a turnover gave Oakland a 44-39 lead at the half. The lead increased to 61-49 with 11:19 left before the Cajuns began their domination. Payton and Xavian Rimmer scored the next six points to cut the deficit in half. After a Petros dunk, the Cajuns used an 8-0 run to tie the game with 8:04 to go. Wronkoski and Rimmer both hit triples before Payton’s layup tied it. After a Grizzlies’ basket, Payton hit his second three pointer of the night to give the Cajuns a 66-65 lead.
Oakland never led again.
Neither team scored in the next three minutes before a Long layup gave the Cajuns a three point lead. Long then scored seven straight points to extend the lead to ten points, 77-67 with 1:17 to play.
Payton’s career night came on 8-15 shooting from the field and 14-21 makes from the free throw line. The 21 attempts were a career high from the Gretna junior. Long, meanwhile made 8-13 shots and hit 7-12 from the line. UL outscored Oakland from the free throw line 25-11.
Louisiana also hit more three point shots, making 9-20 in the game, while the Grizzlies were successful on 8-23, but only 2-9 after intermission.
The Cajuns will now meet the host team, Coastal Carolina, who defeated St. Francis (NY), for the tournament title. Gametime is scheduled for 1:30 pm CST.