Men’s Basketball: Register’s Six Threes Propels Cajuns Over Appalachian State in SBC Action, 81-66
LAFAYETTE, La. – Hayward Register exploded for career highs with 20 points and six three-point buckets and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns kicked it into another gear late in the second half to pull away from Appalachian State, 81-66, on Thursday night at the Cajundome.
Louisiana (13-10, 7-5 SBC) shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half, led by 14 first-half points from Register, but still found itself tied with the Mountaineers (8-12, 5-6 SBC) at 50-50 just under three minutes into the second half.
The Cajuns then went on an 11-2 run and never looked back, picking up their third win in their last five games and ninth win of the year at the Cajundome.
Register was not the only Cajun to turn in a stellar performance as big man Shawn Long continued to show why he is one of the top players in the SBC, going for his fourth straight double-double with a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds. He made just 6-for-14 from the floor, but was 10-for-11 at the foul line, tying his career high for made foul shots.
That total for Long also pushed him over the 1,500-point mark for his career, making him just the 13th Cajun in program history to reach that mark.
In all, the Cajuns were 18-for-21 at the free throw line for the game, and owned the edge on the glass 39-32 while holding App State to just 39.1 percent shooting for the game.
Bryce Washington and Brian Williams joined Register and Long in double figures with 10 points apiece, combining to go 8-for-13 from the field. Meanwhile Kasey Shepherd added a big boost off the bench in the second half, sparking UL with seven points, four assists and a pair of steals and all coming after the game had been knotted at 50 apiece.
Point guard Jay Wright finished with just three points, but played 31 minutes and made his presence felt with eight more assists after a 10-assist performance on Saturday at Texas State.
The Cajuns led by as much as 12 points in the first half, getting 12 of its first 17 points from the big-man duo of Washington and Long before Johnathan Stove made it 19-9 with a two-handed slam in traffic at the 13:49 mark of the period.
J.J. Davenport made it 27-15 with 11:10 to play until halftime with a hook shot in the lane, but App State responded with the trio of Frank Eaves, Jake Babic and Jacob Lawson who all reached double figures in the opening half, combining for 35 of the Mountaineers’ 41 points.
Register’s fourth three of the half still had UL ahead 46-36 with under two minutes to play, but Eaves nailed a three of his own just seconds before the halftime buzzer to trim the deficit to 48-41 at the break.
App State then opened up the second period on an 8-2 run, holding UL without a field goal for the first 5:19 of the half and tying the game on a three from Chris Burgess at the 16:21 mark.
But Williams put the Cajuns back in front less than two minutes later and Kasey Shepherd followed with a three to put the lead back at five. Burgess later hit another three to make it 61-55, but the Mountaineers did not score a field goal for the next four minutes and the Cajuns took advantage with an 8-2 spurt to push the lead back to 12.
That’s when Register got going again, checking in with under six minutes to play after sitting out most of the half and hitting two threes on the first three Cajun possessions after his return to up the lead to 15 and essentially ice the game away.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will look to make it three wins in a row on Saturday afternoon when they host UT Arlington at 1:00 p.m. at the Cajundome. The game will be aired nationally on ESPN2 and will serve as the front end of a doubleheader with the women’s team.
Athletic Network Footnote:
Teams from the Hatfield/Paschal Years (1974-86) will be honored at half time of the 1:00 ESPN-televised game.