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Cajuns Upend Troy, 76-66

Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns let a 14 point second half lead slip away, but outscored Troy 17-7 in the final five minutes to defeat the Trojans 76-66 before 1,919 fans at the Cajundome.

The Cajuns (11-17, 7-10 Sun Belt) won back to back games for the first time all season.

The Cajuns had built a 42-28 lead in the first five minutes of the second half, but Troy went on a 13-2 run to cut the lead to 44-41 after a three point play by guard Emil Jones. The Cajuns built the lead back to seven points on three different occasions, the last at the 10:03 mark on a Bryant Mbamalu jumper,

But the Trojans (11-17, 6-11) rattled off six straight points on layups by Hunter Williams and two in close by Ray Chambers to cut the lead to one point and finally tued the game on a Deonata Jethroe inside shot with 5:37 left.  Elfrid Payton hit a jumper to give the Cajuns the lead bacfk, but Jethroe tied it with 5:03 left, 59-59.

Senior Alan-Michael Thompson, who tied a career high with six three point baskets, hit a triple off a Payton feed to give the Cajuns the lead for good.  After Williams hit one of two free throws, Thompson bombed another triple to boost the Cajuns’ lead to 65-60 with 3:35 left.  Two Shawn Long free throws made it a seven point game and the Trojans didn’t get closer than three the rest of the way.

The Cajuns made eleven of their final 12 free throws, including the last eight down the stretch.

The Cajuns’ victory denied Troy coach Don Maestri in his quest for his 500th career victory.  Instead, he was saddled with his 400th career loss.

Payton led all scorers with 23 points and added nine rebounds, five assists and five steals.  Thompson added 20, twelve in the second half.  Shawn Long made 8-10 free throws and finished with 18 points and nine boards.

Jethroe led the Trojans with 20 points on 8-12 shooting.  Chambers added 15 points and Williams had 14, although the Cajuns held him to just 4-16 shooting.

The win was the tenth of the season for the Cajuns in the Cajundome, marking the fourth straight year they’ve accomplished that feat.

The Cajuns will try to make it three in a row on Saturday in their final home game of the season against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.  Game time is set for 7:15pm

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