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Men’s Basketball: Louisiana Gets The Sweep Holding Off A-State, 77-74

Newcomers play key role in helping Louisiana improve to 11-4 overall and 5-3 in SBC play

LAFAYETTE – A pair of newcomers helped make the difference for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball team as Jacobi Gordon scored 11 of his career-high 14 points in the first half with freshman Ty Harper adding a career-best 11, including three free throws in the final 15 seconds in a 77-74 victory over Arkansas State in the finale of a two-game Sun Belt Conference series at the Cajundome.
Cedric Russell scored 14 points as Louisiana (11-4, 5-3 Sun Belt) won its third straight game and defeated Arkansas State (5-8, 2-4 Sun Belt) for the 14th time in the last 16 meetings in Lafayette dating back to the 2007-08 season.
Louisiana never trailed in the contest, scoring the game’s first seven points while posting season-highs for 3-pointers made (11) and 3-point field goal percentage (.688). The Ragin’ Cajuns led 36-17 on a bucket by Mylik Wilson with 5:28 remaining in the first half before the Red Wolves closed to within 41-29 at the break.
The Ragin’ Cajuns opened the second half with a 14-6 run to take their biggest lead of the game – 55-35 – on a basket by Dou Gueye with 15:04 remaining before Arkansas State mounted a comeback.
A bucket by Tim Holland, Jr., followed by a pair of buckets by Norchad Omier and a 3-pointer by Christian Willis over a 2:29-period turned a 73-61 Louisiana lead into a 73-70 contest with 2:24 remaining.
Louisiana made it a two-possession game after Theo Akwuba made the first of two free throws with 1:26 remaining before Marquis Eaton responded with a pair of free throws getting Arkansas State to within 74-72 with 1:15 left.
Harper added a pair of free throws with 14.5 seconds for a 76-72 lead, and after Malcolm Farrington scored with 3.6 seconds left, the freshman made the second of two free throws to seal the win.
Louisiana went 7-for-11 from behind the 3-point line in the opening half as Gordon went 3-for-3 from long range. The Cal transfer, who went 5-for-5 from the floor with four 3-pointers, scored five straight points early in the first half for Louisiana with a 3-pointer and a jumper in the lane before adding a pair of 3-pointers that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 20-8 lead with 13:01 left.
Russell added a pair of 3-pointers in the first half before adding a pair in the second to increase his career total to 229 and moving past Randell Daigle (227, 2007-11) for third in school history. The senior guard finished 5-for-10 from the floor and 4-for-6 from behind the arc as Louisiana finished 29-for-56 for the game (51.8 percent) and 11-for-16 from long distance.
Akwuba scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Louisiana before fouling out with 1:15 remaining. Wilson added 12 points, five assists and three steals for the Ragin’ Cajuns while Harper went 3-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-2 from behind the arc.
Omier and Willis scored 15 points each to lead Arkansas State with Eaton and Farrington adding 10 each. Omier grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for the Red Wolves, who held a 36-32 advantage on the glass and went 5-for-7 from behind the 3-point line in the second half after going 0-for-3 before halftime.
Louisiana will now play its next four games on the road beginning on Jan. 29-30 in a two-game rematch at Texas State. Both games are scheduled for a 4 p.m. start with both games available on ESPN� and KPEL 96.5 FM. After facing Texas State, Louisiana will travel to face Arkansas State in a two-game series on Feb. 5-6 before returning home to host in-state foe ULM at the Cajundome on Feb. 11.
Season-ticket holders can download their tickets through mobile ticketing from Ticketmaster. Fans can download the #GeauxCajuns app to their smart phone to begin the process. Season-ticket holders who are unable to download tickets or wish to have printed can visit the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the Cajundome to have them printed.
For more information on Men’s Basketball tickets, fans can call the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at (337) 265-2170.
The Cajundome will operate at a significantly reduced capacity for the 2020-21 season (unless state COVID-19 policy changes during the season). This will allow for fans and University students to be accommodated this season. The Department of Athletics will quickly communicate any schedule adjustments or changes to attendance protocols through its social media channels and RaginCajuns.com.
In the interest of public safety and following the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) Best Practices Guide, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics Department is implementing a clear bag policy at all venues that host ticketed events effective with the 2020-21 competition season. Information about the clear bag policy can be found by visiting www.RaginCajuns.com/clearbag.