Seniors Lead Cajuns Past Georgia Southern 87-78
Bob Marlin traditionally starts his seniors on senior night, regardless of the lineup he's used during the regular season.
That move paid dividends for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Saturday night.
Kasey Shepherd scored 20 points and Devonta Walker had a monster night with 16 points and 16 rebounds as Louisiana closed out the regular season with an 87-78 win over Georgia Southern before 4,474 appreciative fans at the Cajundome.
Hayward Register added 14 points for the Cajuns, while Shawn Long narrowly missed a double double with eleven points and nine rebounds.
Georgia Southern (14-16, 10-10 Sun Belt) was led by freshman Tookie Brown, who hit 10-17 from the field for 25 points and Mike Hughes, who connected on 8-14 shots for 23 points. Devince Boykins chipped in ten points.
After shooting 40% from the field in the first half, the Cajuns (16-13, 12-8) improved to 53.6 percent after halftime. Georgia Southern shot 45 percent for the contest. Each team made eight three point baskets. The Eagles were 14-17 from the free throw line while the Cajuns shot 25-31.
But the big statistic was in the rebound battle, where Louisiana humbled the Eagles 49-19. The Cajuns had 19 offensive rebounds to four for Georgia Southern. The Cajuns converted 19 second chance points to just three for the Eagles.
The Eagles led by seven points in the first half after Long picked up a personal and a technical foul and the Cajuns' bench was assessed a technical as well. But Shepherd's three pointer tied the game at 22 with 6:04 to play and the Cajuns never trailed the rest of the half, taking a 38-35 lead into the locker room.
The Cajuns extended the lead to seven points, 49-42 but battled back to the the game on a Brown three pointer and took the lead when Boykins hit a triple on the next possession. The lead changed hands seven times over the next three minutes before Register's three pointer with 6:47 to play gave the Cajuns the lead for good, 68-66.
The Cajuns increased the margin at the four minute mark when Walker scored after an offensive rebound, and Register got a steal and layup just six seconds later to make it a three possession game, 76-69. Hughes hit a layup with 2:37 to go, but Jay Wright hit a triple and Register followed with a layup to give the Cajuns an 81-71 lead and the Eagles never got closer than six points thereafter.
Louisiana will enter the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the #4 seed and will meet the winner of Georgia Southern vs. #8 South Alabama in the quarterfinals Friday at 5pm.