home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Men’s Basketball: Long, Cajuns handle McNeese – Second-half surge sinks Cowboys-photo gallery inc

Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, Nov. 13, 2013

Athletic Network Footnote:
Click here for the photo gallery.

The first half was mostly Elfrid Payton. The second half was all Shawn Long, who finished with a career-high 29 points. And a lot of Elridge Moore was peppered throughout.

The recipe was right for UL to roll past McNeese State 92-66 Tuesday night at the Cajundome, but not before the Cowboys gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a scare with a 15-2 run that helped make a potential early blowout a three-point game at halftime.

“We reminded our guys last year we were up over at their place at halftime by (three), and come out and lose,” Cajuns coach Bob Marlin said.

“So we needed to come out the first five minutes of the second half and make a difference, and we said, ‘We’re gonna throw it in to Shawn (Long),’ ” Marlin added. “We challenged Shawn at halftime, and he certainly responded.”

Long also pulled down a season-high 15 rebounds for his second double-double in two games – he has 18 last season – and added a career high-tying five blocks to boot.

Like Long and Payton, Moore scored in double figures for a second straight game.

He finished with a career-high 16 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field, and had a career-high nine rebounds while also coming up with three steals.

Payton scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half, which UL led 41-38, and added five steals while shooting 9-of-14 from the field.

Twenty-four of Long’s 29 came in the decisive second half, when he working down low and later hit three 3-pointers in a span of two minutes and three seconds.

“(Assistant) Coach (Kevin) Johnson challenged him at halftime,” Marlin said, “and said, ‘Hey, you go harder against (teammates) Vieux (Kande) and J.J. (Davenport) in practice. … So he took it on himself to really make an impact the second half.”

“Coach just talked to me at halftime, just coached me to get more aggressive,” Long added. “You know, he thought I wasn’t aggressive enough on the block. So I gave him my word I would go do that.”

Long did, scoring UL’s first two buckets inside – one on a tip-in – as the Cajuns scored eight of the second half’s first 11 points to open a 49-41 lead.

After Moore scored a fastbreak layup off a Steve Wronkoski steal to make it 57-47, UL’s advantage never again dipped below double digits.

It rose to as high as 26 when Long hit the third of his treys to put the Cajuns up 85-59 with just more than five minutes to go.

“Coach trusts me with that shot,” Long said.

“I felt the dude defending me, he gave me a lot of space. So I thought he wasn’t respecting me, as far as my shooting ability, so I shot it. And once I made (the first), I figured, ‘Hey, why not try again?’ I made that one, so I tried another one and it went it.”

On the defensive end, UL limited the Cowboys to 26.7 percent 3-point shooting (4-for-15) in the second half.

But McNeese State hit 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from behind the long-distance line in the opening half, including five – three of them from Ledrick Eackles – during a 15-2 run that trimmed the Cajun lead from 17 to three at 34-31.

“We just pressured the ball more and just got up in our guy (in the second half), and just tried to not let them get a 3-point shot off,” Moore said. “In the first half we did a bad job of that.”

“That was another thing during halftime Coach was barking on,” Long added, “because he thought they got too many 3 balls up.”

McNeese State (0-2 with a season-opening loss at No. 2 Michigan State) appropriately ended the first-half scoring with a 3-pointer from Opelousas High product Adrian Fields, who finished with a team-high 19 points.

“The second half we really guarded them well from the 3-point line,” said Marlin, whose club next plays road games Friday night at Arkansas and Sunday at Baylor.

“We made a couple mistakes (early),” he added, “but outside of the first barrage of 3s from those guys and a couple of calls that didn’t go our way we would have had a nice lead at the half.”

LAGNIAPPE: Long’s previous scoring high was 27 vs. North Texas last season, and Moore’s previous high was 15 vs. Oakland last season. … The last time UL opened 2-0 to start a season was in 2000-01, when it beat Louisiana College and McNeese State – the same two teams it’s beaten to start this season.