Long, Williams Fuel Cajuns’ Comeback 73-63
Down twelve at halftime. Jay Wright to the hospital for X-Rays. Kasey Shepherd with three fouls. Bryce Washington and Johnathon Stove with a combined two points.
Things looked bleak for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, trying to snap a three game losing streak.
But the Cajuns' star player and a very unlikely hero made sure the streak was over.
Shawn Long had a season high 29 points and 20 rebounds, while Tiremone Williams added ten points, two rebounds and four assists as Louisiana (15-11, 11-6) defeated Troy 73-63 before an announced crowd of 1,333 at the Trojan Arena/Don Maestri Court Thursday night.
Long had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the second half alone, and his five blocked shots made him the school's all-time leader in that category, passing MIchael Southall. Long's numbers were season highs in both categories and he finished just two shy of his career high in both. The double-double was the 20th of the season and 72nd of his career.
Williams, meanwhile, a senior walk-on from Abbeville, scored in double figures for the first time in his career and did not turn the basketball over in a career high 22 minutes.
"Tutu (Williams) was really good tonight, and we needed him to be when Jay went down," head coach Bob Marlin said following the win. "He made some great passes and did a super job guarding (Wesley) Person on the other end. And Shawn just put the team on his back. He had five blocks but he caused a lot of missed shots inside in the second half."
The Trojans were just 7-34 from the field in the second half.
The twelve point deficit was the biggest the Cajuns have overcome this year in a win, topping the eleven point deficit against UL Monroe at the Cajundome, a game won by the Cajuns in overtime.
Steven Wronkoski was the other double figure scorer for the Cajuns, finishing with ten points.
Wesley Person led the way for Troy (9-19, 4-13) with 17 points, but was just 4-15 from the field. Jeremy Hollimon was the only other double figures scorer for Troy with 11 points. John Walton III had eleven rebounds and scored nine points for Troy, but was just 4-19 from the field with many of those shots blocked or altered by Long. Walton was just 2-13 in the second half. Person was held without a field goal in the second half until the final three minutes.
Wright was injured diving for a loose ball with 3:53 remaining in the first half and did not return. He was taken to the hospital for X-Rays with an injury to his right hand. His status for Saturday against South Alabama is unknown.
The Cajuns led 13-10 with 14:04 to play in the first half after Wright hit a three pointer from the corner. But the Trojans then went on a 17-4 run over the next seven and a half minutes to take a double digit lead, 27-17 with 6:15 left before halftime. The Trojans hit three of their five triples for the game during that stretch.
Trailing 39-27 at intermission, the Cajuns scored the first seven points of the second half as Williams scored inside, Wronkoski converted a three point play and Long scored his first bucket of the second half. The lead hovered between six and nine points, but the Cajuns got within three, 49-46 after back to back layups by Long and Bryce Washington. Two Person free throws and a Hollimon basket inside got the lead to seven, but Louisiana then went on a 12-1 run for a 60-54 lead with 5:35 left. Troy never got within three points the rest of the way.as the Trojans missed their last five shots, while the Cajuns made seven of eight free throws.
The Cajuns head to Mobile Saturday to take on South Alabama, with tipoff scheduled for 4:30 at the Mitchell Center.