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Payton, Long Pace Cajuns to Opening Win, 101-67

Brad Kemp/

In the Sun Belt Conference pre-season coaches’ poll, both Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long were named to the first team all Sun Belt.

In Saturday’s opener against Louisiana College, the two showed why the coaches think so highly of them.

Both Long and Payton had double-doubles to lead Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns to a season opening, 101-67 win over Louisiana College before a crowd of 2.787 at the Cajundome.

Long paced the Cajuns with 23 points and 14 rebounds (nine offensive) along with four blocked shots in 24 minutes of work.  He had achieved his 19th career double-double by halftime.

Payton, meanwhile, scored 21 points and garnered ten assists for his fourth career double-double.  He also had two steals and four rebounds in 26 minutes.

Senior forward Elridge Moore was the other Cajun in double figures, scoring eleven points.  He had a perfect night shooting, going four for four from the field and three for three from the free throw line.

The Cajuns, after struggling at the free throw line in their exhibition win over William Carey Monday night, shot 89.5 percent, going 17-19.  Payton led the way with a perfect seven for seven.

After jumping out to an early 10-4 lead, the Cajuns saw Louisiana College (0-1) rattle off sevens straight points to take their only lead at 11-10.  But Louisiana (1-0) stormed back with a 17-4 run to open up a 27-15 lead with 11:19 to play in the half.  The Cajuns led by as many as 21 before settling for a nineteen point lead at the half (53-34).

The Cajuns never led by fewer than 20 points after intermission.

Anthony Gaines, Jr. led Louisiana College with 21 points, shooting 8-18 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line.  He also led the Wildcats in rebounds with seven.  Kevin Cottonham was the only other player in double figures with twelve points, including a perfect ten for ten from the free throw line.  He also led LC in assists with four.

The Cajuns used their size to claim a 49-31 advantage on the boards, with 25 rebounds on the offensive end.

All fourteen players who dressed out got into the game for the Cajuns, and twelve of them scored as Bob Marlin cleared his bench with just under eight minutes to go.  Donovan Williams, Aaron Leblanc and Braylon Lazare, none of whom played in the first half, combined for 17 points and ten rebounds in the last 7:56.

The Cajuns improved their winning streak over the Wildcats to 21 straight and now lead the all-time series 51-20.

The Cajuns will be in action again on Tuesday when they face long time rival McNeese State at the Cajundome.  Tip time is scheduled for 7:05.

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