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Men’s Basketball: Late Surge Carries Cajuns Past A-State For Ninth Straight Win, 83-73

 

Cajuns to battle with Little Rock in first-place battle on Saturday

 

 

LAFAYETTE – Hayward Register drilled back-to-back 3-pointers that fueled an 11-2 run over the final 3:08 and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second half to claim their ninth straight win with an 83-73 victory over Arkansas State in a Sun Belt Conference game on Thursday at the Cajundome.
 
Shawn Long scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for his 69th career double-double as Louisiana (14-8, 10-3 SBC) improved to 11-0 at home this season – its best start since moving into the facility in 1985. Kasey Shepherd added 16 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who outscored A-State (11-13, 7-6 SBC), 44-31, in the second half.
 
Johnathan Stove chipped in with 15 points for Louisiana, which moved to within a game of first-place in the Sun Belt Conference standings after Little Rock dropped an 86-82 decision at ULM. Louisiana will host Little Rock (21-3, 11-2 SBC) in a SBC showdown on Saturday at 4:15 p.m.
 
"It was a good college basketball game, two teams going at (for 40 minutes)," head coach Bob Marlin said. "Arkansas State played better tonight than they did in Jonesboro (in January). They shot the ball good tonight. They were missing a starter (Donte Thomas) and had two guys (Frederic Dure and Nouhoum Bocoum) step up tonight.
 
"To have a good effort defensively in the second half and hit a couple of three’s to break it open was very important for us."
 
Louisiana trailed for the majority of the game, including by nine points in the second half after a layup by Devin Carter gave the Red Wolves a 50-41 lead with 17:20 remaining. The Ragin’ Cajuns chipped away at the lead before two free throws by Stove at the 10:21 mark gave Louisiana its first lead of the night, 61-59.
 
Shepherd snapped a 61-all deadlock with a pair of free throws with 9:55 remaining, and the Ragin’ Cajuns would build their lead to 71-63 when Devonta Walker scored on a putback off a Long miss with 6:12 left.
 
Arkansas State then scored the next eight points to tie the game with 3:33 left as Dure drained a 3-pointer, added a pair of free throws and Anthony Livingston followed with a 3-pointer that knotted the score for the eighth time of the night.
 
But after Stove hit two free throws with 3:08 left to put Louisiana up for good, 73-71, Register would put the game away with his only baskets of the night. The Lafayette native drained a 3-pointer from the right wing that gave Louisiana a 76-71 lead and added a second trey from the left corner with 1:49 left.
 
Louisiana, which went 2-for-11 from long range in the first half, made 7 of 12 attempts from behind the 3-point line in the second half to finish 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) for the game. Register and Shepherd drained a pair of 3-pointers in the second half for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Steven Wronkoski, Jay Hedgeman and Elijah McGuire connecting from behind the arc.
 
The Ragin’ Cajuns finished 29-for-67 (43.3 percent) from the floor and held a 41-30 advantage on the glass against A-State. Long, who was held to a late basket in the second half, dished out a team-high three assists for Louisiana while blocking three shots to move to within four of Michael Southall’s record (258) set from 2001-06.
 
Dure scored 21 points to lead Arkansas State, which was looking for its first win in the Cajundome since Jan. 3, 2008. Livingston added 15 points for the Red Wolves with Nouhoum Bocoum adding 14 points and Carter 11.