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Georgia State Ends Cajuns’ Home Streak, 77-70

Brad Kemp/ragincajuns.com

R. J. Hunter scored 28 of his game-high 33 points in the second half to lead Georgia State to its tenth straight win, a 77-70 win over Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns at the Cajundome, snapping Louisiana’s home winning streak at eight games.

Hunter was held to just two points in the first 19:55 of the first half, but his three point basket got the visitors within four points, 29-25 at intermission.  The son of the Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter hit 8-13 from the field and 12-14 from the free throw line.  He was 5-7 from beyond the arc.

Ryan Harrow added 17 points for the visitors while Manny Atkins had a double double with eleven points and the same number of rebounds.

Elfrid Payton led the Cajuns with 21 points.  He also had nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.  Shawn Long added 17 points and fifteen rebounds.  Both fouled out late in the game, with Long exiting at the 1:28 mark and Payton leaving with :45 seconds left.  Bryant Mbamalu was also in double figures for the Cajuns with eleven points.

Louisiana (12-7, 3-3 Sun Belt) led19-17 with 4:39 to play in the first half before scoring eight straight points, with Long and Payton each scoring four to take a 27-17 lead.  A layup by Curtis Washington and a three pointer by Harrow cut the lead to five with 1:27 to go.  Long hit a layup with :35 left to stretch the lead to seven before Harris hit a trey that was a harbinger of things to come.

Georgia State (13-6, 6-0) got the lead for the first time in the second half on a Hunter triple to take a 40-39 lead.  An Elridge Moore layup gave the Cajuns the lead back, but Hunter was fouled on a three point attempt and made them all.  On the next possession, Shawn Long was called for a foul against Hunter.  It was ruled a two shot foul and during the ensuing time out, Cajuns coach Bob Marlin was hit with a technical foul for disputing the call.  Hunter made all four free throws to give Georgia State a 47-41 lead.

But the Cajuns battled back to tie the game at 50 with a three point play by Payton and a triple from Kasey Shepherd.  Louisiana got the lead back on a Long layup with 6>35 left and the teams traded the lead back and forth with the Cajuns having a three point margin on two Long free throws with 3:49 left.

Hunter hit a jumper to tie the game with 2:42 to go and Devonta White’s layup with 2:16 left gave the visitors the lead for good.  Georgia State hit 12-14 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

The two statistics in the game which were glaring in the Cajuns loss were Georgia State shooting 37 free throws (made 27) to the Cajuns’ 17 (made eleven).  GSU was 25-31 in the second half.  The 25 points from the free throw line matched the entire output for the Panthers in the first half.

In addition, cold perimeter shooting plagued the Cajuns, with Louisiana making just 3-18.

The Cajuns will now meet the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Saturday in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.  Fans are asked to wear white to the game.

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