Cajuns Special Season Ends In NIT
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns basketball team was looking to go into Baton Rouge for the first time since 2009 and get a win. The Cajuns didn't want their special season to end at the hands of the Tigers but they take down the Cajuns 84-76 as Louisiana finishes the season 27-7.
One of the main changes for the NIT is that they are going by quarters for the tournament instead of halves. The Cajuns started the 1st quarter on fire to get out to a 7-0 lead early on before LSU called a timeout. The Cajuns would make it 10-2 before LSU would go on a 12-2 run to take a 12-10 and the Tigers would go into the 2nd quarter with an 18-15 lead.
The Tigers stayed in control in the 2nd quarter by making easy buckets and causing the Cajuns to turn the ball over. The Tigers shot 55% in the first half while the Cajuns only shot 36%. The Tigers shot 9 free throws in the first half and made 7 of them and the Cajuns didn't go to the line at all in the first half.
The Cajuns had 10 turnovers in the first half while the Tigers weren't far behind with 8. The one good statistic the Cajuns lead in was the 3 point percentage. Louisiana shot 29% while LSU only shot 10%. The Tigers led by as many as 11 in the first half.
The Cajuns outscored the Tigers 25-21 in the 3rd quarter and went back and forth but the inside game for LSU proved to be the difference maker in the 3rd quarter as the Tigers kept scoring at will. The Cajuns got the lead down to 3 points but they didn't score for 2:48 of the 3rd quarter.
The 4th quarter was just like the 3rd in that it was a back and forth battle with the Tigers being up by double digits and the Cajuns being down as many as 1. The Cajuns were able to stay in the game thanks to the free throw shooting in the second half as they didn't have any in the first half. The Cajuns finished 15-19 from the free throw line. The Cajuns made it a close game in the 4th quarter thanks to a 7-0 run late in the quarter that helped the Cajuns get it down to 1 but they couldn't take the lead and fall in Baton Rouge 84-76.
Marcus Stroman finished with a double-double as he scored 12 points and had 13 rebounds on the night. He was close to a triple-double as he had 7 assists. Frank Bartley finished his Cajuns career with 21 points and 3 rebounds in the game. Bryce Washington finished with 7 points and 7 rebounds while Russell and Stove finished with double-digit points on the night.
While it may sting a bit and the season may not have ended the way the Cajuns wanted, it was a special season. The team set a new school record in wins with 27 and they had 3 1,000 point scorers on this team. They also are the first Cajuns team to win the SBC title outright since joining the conference. To Bryce, Johnathon, Frank, Jacob, and Larenz, you guys made history and left an impact on the university and the team. You also made it a fun season for everyone.