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Men’s Basketball: Marlin disappointed with UL 84-69 loss to UTA

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, February 7, 2015



PHOTO GALLERY: UL vs. UTA Men’s Basketball

VIDEO: Bob Marlin after UL’s loss to Mavericks


With players from a bygone era looking on, an announced 4,138 in the stands at the Cajundome and a national cable-television audience able to tune in on ESPN2, UL basketball coach Bob Marlin wanted his Ragin’ Cajuns to put on a show Saturday.

It did.

Unfortunately for Marlin, it was more like a horror show than one with a happy conclusion.

UL fell 84-69 to Texas-Arlington, marking the Cajuns’ sixth loss in their last eight games and dropping them to 13-11 and 7-6 in Sun Belt Conference play.

It was the largest margin of defeat for UL at home since a 78-60 loss to UL Monroe on the final day of the 2011-12 regular season — Feb. 25, 2012.

“It was a painful game to watch,” said Marlin, who limited season scoring leader Shawn Long to eight second-half minutes because of his defensive effort.

“I told the guys, ‘I don’t know that I’ve watched a game, or coached a game, that’s been more painful to watch in the second half than tonight — because we felt totally helpless on the bench.

“I know it was tough for our fans to watch too — and I’m really disappointed (because) the former players were here in the reunion,” he added with reference to visiting ex-Cajuns from the 1975-86 Jim Hatfield and Bobby Paschal coaching years. “It’s sad, and I feel just awful about that. Because this team has shown that they have some flashes of brilliance — and we didn’t show it today.”

UTA (13-9, 7-5) broke a two-game losing streak and won for the fourth time in its last six outings behind Jorge Bibao’s career-high 18 points, Johnny Hill’s 16 and Greg Gainey’s 10 — and despite the 3-for-10 shooting of its season scoring leader, Lonnie McClanahan, who had nine.

The Cajuns hit 50 percent from the field in the opening half, but their shooting went cold and they made only 7-of-25 — 28 percent — the rest of the way.

UL also shot just 5-of-21 — 23.8 percent — from 3-point range, with three of the makes being from 3-for-8 Hayward Register.

UTA, meanwhile, hit 56.5 percent from the floor in the second half.

“The team that plays the best usually deserves to win,” Marlin said, “and today that team was UT Arlington.”

UL led by as many as 11 during an opening half in which it never trailed.

But UTA went into halftime down just 45-41, and did so only after the Cajuns made a late-half stop and UL’s Jay Wright followed with a pull-up jumper.

UL opened the second half with a Bryce Washington layup.

But UTA answered with a 15-1 run, and during the process it took the lead for good with a Lonnie McClanahan layup that made it 48-47.

“Disappointing second half,” Marlin said. “We had no energy at all.

“Things didn’t go our way early. We were beat in transition most of the game, and it showed in the second half — and they looked like a team that had been off for a week.”

Which it had.

That’s a fact that came with a warning.

“At halftime,” Marlin said, “I challenged the guys, told them that they were gonna come out; they would not run out of gas, like App did (in UL’s win over Appalachian State last Thursday night).”

Yet, UL let UTA run all over it anyway.

Time and time again, the up-and-down Mavericks got to the basket with relative ease.

When Kaelon Wilson’s two free throws with 8:04 left put the Mavericks up 68-58, UT Arlington’s lead was in double digits to stay.

Twice in the final six minutes, UTA led by as many as 17.

“They did it in the second half,” Marlin said.

“We can’t score on offense. We were stagnant against the zone. We didn’t rebound. We turned it over (17 times), and certainly didn’t defend the ball.”

UL’s Bryce Washington had a team-high 13 points. Long had a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double, and Register finished with 11 two days after scoring a career-high 20.

Marlin, however, wasn’t impressed by any of it.

“We did not play well,” he said, “did not have any individual performances that were noteworthy.”

Some stood out, however, for reasons the Cajun coach detailed — including that of Long, who experienced second-half foul trouble.

“Then he (Long) decided he didn’t want to guard, so he didn’t get to play at the end,” Marlin said. “It was unfortunate.

“You know,” he added, “Hayward (Register) got beat off the dribble, some other guys — so you see what I have to deal with on a daily basis. We’ve got to get a combination of guys that can do both.”

There was more.

“In the second half, we had a good spark from Kasey (Shepherd) the other night (against) Appalachian State),” Marlin said. “Didn’t have that (Saturday).

“Our bench has got to give us something. You’ve got Brian Williams, and Devonta (Walker), Steve (Wronkoski), Kasey, Xavian (Rimmer) – guys that come in and help us, they’ve got to come in ready to go.”