Second Half Surge Carries Cajuns to Seventh Straight Win
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns are in final exams this week and it showed in the first half of play.
But the Cajuns found their stride in the second half en route to a 94-60 thrashing of Loyola (NO) before 3,544 at the Cajundome Wednesday night.
"We were flat in the first half, but we had a discussion about it at halftime," head coach Bob Marlin said. "Our guys responded and we played much better in the second half."
Bryce Washington and Frank Bartley IV each scored 19 points to pace the Cajuns' attack. Freshman P. J. Hardy had a career high 16 points in 33 minutes of action, while Jay Wright added 15.
Johnny Griffin, Jr. and Jalen Gray each had 16 points for the Wolf Pack.
The Cajuns (7-2) and Wolf Pack were tied at 10 with under 13 minutes to play in the first half, but Louisiana then went on a 16-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 26-12 lead with 8:47 remaining until halftime. Bartley hit a layup and five free throws during that stretch, while Washington added two inside buckets. But Loyola matched the Cajuns the rest of the way and Louisiana took a 42-28 lead into the locker room.
Then came that discussion.
"We turned it over too many times in the first half and let them get some easy buckets," Marlin said. And, we weren't rebounding that well. The guys have been busting it in the classroom and I think that showed in the first half."
The Cajuns scored 17 of the first 25 points in the second half, with a pair of triples by Hardy and one by Wright highlighting the action. The lead was 21, 65-44 with 11:21 to play and Washington then hit on three straight layups to get the lead to 28 with nine minutes to play.
After holding just a two rebound advantage at the half, the Cajuns enjoyed a 26-13 bulge on the boards in the second half. Washington led the way with nine for the game, while Bartley added six and Wright five. The Cajuns also had a 12-5 assist to turnover ratio in the second half, with Wright taking team honors with five and Bartley with four as the Cajuns wound up with 19 assists and 14 turnovers.
The Cajuns will now welcome long time rival Louisiana Tech to the Cajundome Saturday night with tip time 30 minutes after women's action against Southern (NO). That game will tip off at 5pm.