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Men’s Basketball: Rimmer’s 3-pointer helps Cajuns beat Bobcats

Daily Advertiser, Feb. 9, 2014

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Xavier Rimmer drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds remaining and Elfrid Payton forced a turnover on Texas State’s final possession as the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns erased a 12-point deficit in the second half and claimed a 67-66 victory over the Bobcats in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at Strahan Coliseum.

Shawn Long recorded a double-double to lead Louisiana (15-9, 6-5 SBC) scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Rimmer, who finished 4-for-7 from the floor with a pair of 3-pointers, added 16 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Payton chipping in with 10.

“They’re (Texas State) a very patient ballclub and earlier got a layup with one second on the shot clock,” head coach Bob Marlin said. “During a timeout, we made a change in how we defended it and they didn’t get another like that again.

“Our guys came up with some big stops on defense. Through all of our years going against this coaching group, they don’t like pressure (defense) and we were able to get some turnovers when we needed them.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns outscored Texas State (7-16, 3-7 SBC), 21-8, over the final 7:57 after the Bobcats took a 58-46 lead when Joel Wright scored on a layup.

Freshman Hayward Register sank a pair of free throws to begin the run for Louisiana before Rimmer countered a Phil Hawkins layup with a 3-pointer that cut the Bobcat lead to 60-51 with 5:43 remaining in the game. Register added a 3-pointer from the right win that got the Ragin’ Cajuns to within 60-54 with 4:52 left before four free throws by Rimmer and a pair of free throws by Bryant Mbamalu would eventually close the gap to 62-60 with 2:58 remaining.

The Bobcats took a 66-62 lead when Wesley Davis scored on a layup with 59 seconds remaining, but Long answered with a bucket on the Cajuns’ next possession with 29.2 seconds left. The Cajuns got the ball after a turnover by Texas State’s Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, and after a timeout, Rimmer buried his eventual game-winning bucket from the right corner.

Texas State had one last chance to win the game, but Payton stripped Wright of the ball and the Bobcats were unable to get off a final shot.

Louisiana took a 22-14 lead with 9:10 remaining in the first when half when Steven Wronkoski converted on a three-point play. Hawkins would score the next five points for the Bobcats with a 3-pointer and a layup before Texas State would eventually re-gain the lead, 30-27, when Davis connected on a 3-pointer.

The Bobcats, who led 33-31 at halftime, would push their lead to 52-42 on a bucket by Wright and led by as many as 12 points four times midway through the second half – the last when a layup by Hawkins gave Texas State a 60-48 lead with 6:43 left.

Wright led Texas State with 17 points with Hawkins and Davis adding 14 apiece. The Bobcats shot 24-for-47 (51.1 percent) from the floor while holding the Cajuns to 22-of-59 aim (37.3 percent). The Ragin’ Cajuns, who went 4-for-16 from behind the 3-point line, made 19-of-21 free throws and outrebounded Texas State, 34-29.

Louisiana will return to action on Thursday when it entertains UALR in a 7:05 p.m. contest at the Cajundome.