Shorthanded Cajuns Top Red Wolves, 61-56
Shawn Long had seventeen points and sixteen rebounds to pace Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns as they defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves, 61-56, before a season high 3,040 fans at the Cajundome.
The Cajuns (7-12, 3-5 Sun Belt) dressed only seven scholiarship players for the game. Guards Alan-Michael Thompson and Bryant Mbamalu were unavailable for the game after suffering injuries in Thursday's loss to South Alabama.
Freshman Kasey Shepherd picked up the slack with a career high 13 points and Elfrid Payton added 13 more to pace the Cajuns' attack.
Trey Finn had 15 points for Arkansas State (10-7, 4-4), who dropped their second straight game. Freshman Cameron Golden added 13 points and Raeford "Gator" Worsham, another freshman, acored 12.
The Cajuns trailed only once in the game, falling behind 5-3 at the 17:02 mark of the first half on a Finn three pointer. But with the score tied at 7-7, Shepherd keyed an 8-0 run with five points to give the Cajuns a 15-7 lead with 12:34 to play in the first half. Arkansas State fought back to the the game again at 19 all, but the Cajuns scored the next six points to take the lead for good, and stretched the lead to nine points, 33-24 at halftime.
It was the first time the Cajuns had led at halftime since December 11th, when they had a halftime advantage over Lamar.
In the second half, the Cajuns led by as many as 13 points following an Elridge Moore layup, 42-29. The lead stayed between five an ten points most of the second half. Arkansas State cut a nine point Cajuns lead with three minutes left down to four, 60-56 with :24 left on two Golden free throws, but that was as close as the Red Wolves would get.
Arkansas State head coach John Brady was thwarted in his attempt to win at the Cajundome for the first time in his career. He was 0-1 at Stanford and has yet to win as the coach at ASU.
Ed Townsel, who had a career high 31 points against the Cajuns in the first matchup in Jonesboro back on December 27th, got in early foul trouble, played only eleven minutes and was held to one point.
The whistle-happy crew of Byron Evans, Bruce Bell and Reinaldo Acosta called 48 fouls resulting in 58 free throws between the two teams.
The Cajuns will now head back on the road next week for games at Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee. The WKU game will be Thursday at 7pm.