Eight is Great! Cajuns Beat App State 87-76 to Extend Streak
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns raced out to a 17 point halftime lead and withstood a second half comeback by Appalachian State as the Cajuns extended their winning streak to eight games with an 87-76 win Thursday night at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, NC.
The Cajuns (13-8, 9-3 Sun Belt) led by as many as 21 early in the second half and had a fourteen point lead, 77-63 with 8:55 to go. But the Mountaineers (6-16, 4-7) went on an 11-2 run to make it a four point game, 78-74 with 5:08 to play.
That would be Appalachian State's last gasp, however, as Jay Wright made a layup, Jonathan Stove got a free throw, Shawn Long got a pair of dunks and Bryce Washington hit a jumper to cap a 9-2 run to end the game.
"It's a road win, a conference road win and we'll take it," Cajuns' coach Bob Marlin said. "We're a tired basketball team right now after four games in eight days, and I thought we showed some fortitude tonight."
Long had his 16th double double of the season and 68th of his career, with a game high 19 points and ten rebounds. Washington scored 14 points and added nine rebounds for the Cajuns, while Wright scored 12 points and Stove chipped in ten.
Freshman Ronshad Shabazz led the Mountaineers with 18 points on 7-14 shooting. Frank Eaves, the Sun Belt's leading scorer, finished with 15 points but was held to 4-15 shooting.
"The last time they were in this building, Eaves hit nine three point baskets," Marlin said. "Tonight he was 0-4. Really happy with the way Jay (Wright) guarded him. We were able to rest him a bit and as a result, he stayed fresh."
The Cajuns wound up shooting 53% (31-59) while App State was held to 40 percent (27-67). The Cajuns, who lead the Sun Belt in free throw shooting in Sun Belt play, struggled from the line, shooting just 53% (20-38). The Cajuns were outrebounded 44-40.
"Very disappointed in the way we shot free throws and rebounded tonight,' said Marlin. "Getting to the free throw line doesn't matter if you don't make them. And we can't get outrebounded. We're better than that."
Louisiana scorched the nets at a 60% clip in the first half and never trailed after Washington hit a layup five minutes into the game. The Cajuns led 12-10 but went on an 8-0 run as Long scored on an old fashioned three point play, Hayward Register hit one from beyond the arc and Jay Hedgeman added a pair of free throws to give the Cajuns a 20-10 lead.
The lead was 25-15 when the Cajuns went on another 11-4 run as Long scored three, Stove hit a pair of layups and Devonta Walker and Kasey Shepherd added buckets to increase the lead to 36-19. The Cajuns led by as many as 20, 52-32 before Appalachian State scored the final three points of the half.
The Cajuns will have Saturday off before returning to the Cajundome next Thursday night against Arkansas State. Game time is scheduled for 7:15pm.