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Men’s Basketball: Marlin – Tourneys not off the table yet

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, March 14, 2015


After being knocked out of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament here with an 83-79 semifinal-round loss to Georgia State, UL coach Bob Marlin said afterward that he thinks his club has a “50-50” chance of playing in some postseason tournament this year.

He did not, however, specify which one.

“We’ll wait and see what happens,” Marlin said. “I’d say it’s probably 50-50. I think we’re very deserving.”

UL is 20-13, and its loss Saturday as the No. 4 seed snapped a seven-game win streak.

“We missed a second-round bye by one win,” Marlin said. “We hadn’t lost a game (before Saturday) in a month, guys. It was Feb. 12. So, this team has done a lot of good things.”

UL, the 2014 Sun Belt tourney winner, lost its first NCAA Tournament game last year to Creighton.

The Cajuns’ last non-NCAA tourney came in 2012, when it lost its opening CollegeInsider.com tournament game at home to Rice.

Junior guard Kasey Shepherd, for one, hopes UL’s 2014-15 season is not done.

“It would be big for us,” he said of a possible postseason bid.

“Hopefully we can take everything we learned (Saturday) and turn it around and continue on and finish the season better than we are right now,” Shepherd added. “That would be a big opportunity for us. Hopefully we get it.”


Georgia State junior swingman R.J. Hunter led the Panthers past UL with 32 points Saturday.

But afterward he did not dwell on beating the Cajuns, who denied Georgia State an NCAA Tournament appearance by beating the top-seeded Panthers in last year’s SBC tourney title game.

“I moved on from that, probably this summer — because I was probably losing a lot of sleep over it, so I got over that,” Hunter said. “They’re a good basketball team, super well-coached with a tough player inside. So, I mean, that’s good. More than the revenge part. But we came here for 80 minutes, and that’s just 40.”

Georgia State faces Georgia Southern in today’s Sun Belt championship game (noon, ESPN2).

If the Cajuns were impressed by what Hunter did Saturday, they weren’t letting on. Rather, they seemed bothered most by their own 21 turnovers.

“He’s a good player. He had a good game,” Shepherd said. “Personally, I don’t think that’s the reason we lost. … So, R.J. Hunter scoring a lot of points — that doesn’t really concern me. We still have to take care of the ball.”

The first-round NBA prospect finished 11-for-22 from the field, including 3-for-7 from 3-point range.

“We knew he’d shoot a high volume,” Marlin said. “He shot a few air balls; he forced some shots as well.”


With UL trailing 48-30 Saturday, Cajun shooting guard Hayward Register blocked a Hunter shot under the basket.

After Hunter got in Register’s face, double-technicals were called. Marlin then shouted “unbelievable,” and the Cajun bench was tagged for a tech as well.

Hunter made two free throws as a result, then hit a jumper to make it 52-30.

“It was a time we were coming back,” Marlin said. “And we saw the blocked shot by Register, and he may have said something. But R.J. Hunter went on and on and on, as he does on every whistle.

“And they called a double-technical, and they didn’t tell me anything. So, I got upset — and it’s the first technical I’ve had in 33 games. And it did impact the game.”


Senior small Brian Williams missed a sixth straight game due to a shoulder injury. … Georgia State point guard Ryan Harrow, the ex-Kentucky starter and an NBA prospect, was limited to six minutes by a hamstring injury, so usual shooting guard Kevin Ware, the ex-Louisville guard known for shattering his leg during NCAA Tourney, took over at the point for the Panthers and finished with nine points and six assists. … Longtime NBA shooting guard Raja Bell, a product of ex-Sun Belt member Florida International, was scouted Saturday’s game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is now the Cavs’ director of player administration.