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Men's Basketball: Second-Half Run Carries Louisiana Past South Alabama, 79-68
Louisiana to face Georgia State in semifinal battle on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
vs. Georgia State
3/7/2021 | 5:30 p.m.
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Theo Akwuba, Mylik Wilson and Dou Gueye each posted double-doubles and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Men's Basketball team used a 30-5 run in the second half to pull away from South Alabama, 79-68, in a Sun Belt Conference quarterfinal matchup on Saturday at Hartsell Arena.
Devin Butts and Kobe Julien came off the bench to score 11 points each as Louisiana (17-8), the No. 2 seed in the SBC West Division, erased an 11-point deficit and outscored South Alabama (17-11), 50-35, in the second half.
The win advanced Louisiana to the SBC semifinals for the 14th time in school history where it will face rival Georgia State (15-5), the SBC East Division winner, on Sunday at 5:30 p.m., at the Pensacola Bay Center Arena. GSU reached the semifinals after edging Arkansas State, 71-68, in a quarterfinal contest.
Louisiana trailed 26-15 with 9:33 remaining in the first half before closing out the half on a 14-7 run to trim the deficit to 33-29 at the break. Akwuba, who led all players with 19 points and 14 rebounds, scored 13 in the opening half as the Ragin' Cajuns withstood South Alabama's perimeter game that resulted in five 3-pointers and 14 first-half points by John Pettway.
South Alabama led 43-34 on Tyrone Lecure's 3-pointer with 16:09 remaining before Louisiana would respond. Wilson, who scored 16 points with 10 rebounds and six assists, scored seven straight points for Louisiana as his 3-pointer with 14:23 left helped the Ragin' Cajuns snap a 0-for-12 performance from behind the 3-point line.
Cedric Russell tied the game at 46-46 when he scored his first points of the game on a 3-pointer and Butts would follow with a 3-pointer to give Louisiana the lead for good at 49-46 with 12:16 left.
Pettway would sink a pair of free throws at the 11:56 mark to cut Louisiana's lead to 49-48, but a three-point play by Wilson would spark 15 straight points for the Ragin' Cajuns and push the lead to 64-48 with 7:04 remaining. Akwuba added a follow-up dunk during the run before Butts drained a 3-pointer and Julien scored seven straight points to cap the run.
South Alabama attempted a comeback as a dunk by Jamal West cut the deficit to 72-66 with 2:04 remaining, but Butts answered with a 3-pointer from the left corner with Gueye and Russell each sinking free throws to seal the win.
Gueye scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Louisiana posted three double-doubles in a game for the second time this season and first against a Division I opponent since five players – Kevin Brooks, Aaron Mitchell, Marcus Stokes, Sydney Grider and Todd Hill – each posted double-doubles in a 116-113 victory at Kentucky on Dec. 23, 1989.
Louisiana finished 33-for-71 (46.5 percent) from the floor overall and was 19-for-33 (57.6 percent) in the second half. The Ragin' Cajuns held a 53-29 advantage on the glass against the Jaguars while holding South Alabama to 11-for-34 (32.4 percent) from the floor in the second half.
Pettway led South Alabama with 16 points with Sam Iorio coming off the bench to add 14. Michael Flowers, the Sun Belt's leading scorer (21.3), was limited to 13 points on 4 of 14 shooting including 1-for-8 in the second half.
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