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Men’s Basketball: Long’s 31-point effort pushes UL past UT-Arlington, 92-89

Daily Advertiser, Feb. 7, 2014

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Shawn Long scored a career-high 31 points and Elfrid Payton posted a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns built a 25-point lead and held off UT Arlington, 92-89, in a Sun Belt Conference game Thursday at College Park Center.

Former Comeaux High product Hayward Register scored a season-high 17 points and Elridge Moore grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds as Louisiana (14-9, 5-5 SBC) finished 32-for-62 (51.6 percent) from the floor and 9-for-21 from behind the 3-point line.

“Our defense played really well early,” head coach Bob Marlin said. “The guys did a good job of following the scouting report and executing the game plan. We played well from wire-to-wire and are excited to get the win.

“We guys step up and put in a few shots for us. Heyward Register has practiced really well since Kasey Shepherd went down with an injury and Donovan Williams has stepped up for us and has given us good minutes.”

The Cajuns led 70-50 on a pair of free throws by Payton with 12:42 remaining in the game before UTA (9-13, 4-6 SBC) battled back to close the gap to 91-89 on a 3-pointer by Jamel Outler with 1.8 seconds left.

But Xavian Rimmer made the first of two free throws for the Cajuns on the ensuing possession and the Mavs were unable to maintain possession for a potential game-tying shot.

UTA led 9-6 on a 3-pointer by Brandon Edwards from the top of the key with 16:01 remaining in the first half and added four free throws to trail 15-13 before the Cajuns would begin to pull away scoring the game’s next 18 points.

Payton opened the run for the Ragin’ Cajuns with a three-point play before a jumper by Register and a pair of buckets by Bryant Mbamalu gave Louisiana a 24-13 lead at the 10:19 mark. Long added a pair of free throws for the Cajuns, with J.J. Davenport adding a jumper, a 3-pointer by Register and a steal and layup by Payton that helped Louisiana push its lead to 33-13 with 7:46 remaining in the first half.

UTA ended its field goal drought of over nine minutes when Lonnie McClanahan scored on a layup, but Register buried back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns their biggest lead of the night, 40-15, with 5:52 left.

McClanahan led UTA with 31 points with Outler adding 19. Reger Dowell, the leading scorer in the Sun Belt Conference, was held to 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting before fouling out with 4:03 remaining.

Louisiana will return to action on Saturday when it faces Texas State in a 4:30 p.m. contest at Strahan Coliseum. The game, which can be heard on Hot 107.9 FM and ESPN 1420 AM, will be broadcast through the state of Louisiana on Cox4.