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Mr. Tyren "Bones" Johnson

Home:
1303 Magnolia Heights
Vacherie, Louisiana 70090

Work:

Home Phone: 225-265-7597
Work Phone: --
Fax: --
Email: tyrenjohnson34@yahoo.com

Basketball: Johnson earns invite to prestigious all-star game

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • March 28, 2010

The honors keep rolling in for former UL forward Tyren Johnson.

Johnson accepted an invitation on Thursday night to play in the Reese’s College All-Star Game during Final Four weekend in Indianapolis. Tipoff for the game, which airs live on CBS College Sports, is 4:32 p.m. Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Vacherie native was one of 20 college seniors selected to play in the game. Johnson will suit up for the Reese’s All-Star Team, which will be coached by former Purdue head coach Gene Keady. Purdue head coach Matt Painter and Illinois head coach Bruce Weber will serve as assistants under Keady.

“It’s going to be an honor to play in this game,” Johnson said Saturday. “I can’t wait to represent my hometown Vacherie and also my school UL.”

Joining him on the Reese’s All-Star Team are guards Jerome Randle (California), Tre’von Hughes (Wisconsin), Aubrey Coleman (Houston) and Michael Roll (UCLA), forwards Bryan Davis (Texas A&M), Quincy Pondexter (Washington), Robert Glenn (IUPUI) and Adam Koch (Northern Iowa) and center Omar Samhan (Saint Mary’s).

Johnson will play against the Hershey’s All-Star team, which will be under the direction of former Indiana State head coach Bill Hodges. That team’s roster is not available online.

The teams will practice Thursday before playing on Friday.

“We definitely consider it a big deal to be one of the all-stars during the Final Four,” Keady said Saturday from his home in Lafayette, Ind. “I’m looking forward to coaching Tyren. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him. He sounds like a pretty athletic and versatile player.”

The all-star invitation is the most recent of numerous honors for Johnson, who was already named the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Year and all-district by both the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and National Association of Basketball Coaches. He is also now eligible for State Farm Division I All-America honors.

Johnson was one of only two players in the country this season — joining Vermont forward Marqus Blakely — to lead their respective teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots. He averaged 17.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocked shots in 36.1 minutes per game. In addition to leading the conference in scoring, he was second in rebounds, steals and minutes played, was fourth in blocked shots and in the top 15 in field-goal percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio.

After playing in the Reese’s College All-Star Game, Johnson will leave to participate in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which is April 7-10 in Portsmouth, Va. He was one of 64 college seniors selected to compete in the four-day, 12-game tournament in front of executives from every NBA team.

Johnson has trained for the past two weeks at Traction Center for Sports in Baton Rouge. Once he’s done playing in the P.I.T., Johnson will continue his training until the NBA draft on June 24 with renowned personal trainer Tim Grover in his 60,000-square-foot Attack Athletics facility on the West Side of Chicago.

Some of Grover’s past clients include Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.

“I don’t know if we would have won a game without Tyren Johnson,” former UL head coach Robert Lee said after Johnson was named Sun Belt Player of the Year. “He wasn’t lucky at all. He put in the work and had the dedication to get better. Plus, he’s an incredible guy and an incredible example for the other players on the team.

“He has set an example that will help this program for years to come.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

Men’s Basketball: Tyren Johnson Collects LSWA Honor

Men’s Basketball: Honors piling up for UL’s Johnson

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • March 11, 2010

Tyren Johnson’s college basketball career ended last Saturday in frustration with UL’s bitter, last-second loss to UL Monroe in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

This week has gone much better for the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. On Monday, Johnson accepted an invitation to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.Only 64 college seniors are invited to participate in the four-day, 12-game tournament in front of representatives from every NBA team April 7-10 in Portsmouth, Va.

Johnson was named Tuesday to the 10-member U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s All-District VII team, which is comprised of players from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. The 6-foot-8 forward joined LSU forward Tasmin Mitchell as the only Louisiana players on the team.

He is the first Cajun to earn all-district honors since Dwayne Mitchell in 2006.

“Those are definitely some great honors for Tyren, especially being picked for the Portsmouth camp,” said former UL coach Robert Lee, who coached Johnson for the past four years. “It’s also quite an accomplishment for a guy, who when he got here, didn’t know what a triple-threat position was.

“That is all a testament to how hard he has worked. He’s put himself in a position for a lot of great things to happen for him.”

Johnson emerged as one of the nation’s most versatile players as a senior, averaging 17.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocked shots in 36.1 minutes per game this season. The Vacherie native led the Sun Belt in scoring, was second in rebounds, steals and minutes played, was fourth in blocked shots and in the top 15 in field-goal percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio.

No other Sun Belt player this season led his team in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots.

Despite a painful rib injury suffered late in the first half of last Saturday’s loss, Johnson finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots in 39 minutes of action.

Johnson is taking some time away from basketball this week so his ribs can heal before going to Portsmouth.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me,” said Johnson, who plans to speak with youngsters at local schools today and Friday. “I’ve got to go out there and show them that I can compete with the best. I’ll be playing with other great players, and I always step up my game when I do.

“I’ll get a chance to show how good I can pass and do other things when I’m there.”

* * * * * * * * * *

February 15, 2010

Courtesy: RaginCajuns.com
http://www.ragincajuns.com
A week after averaging 26 points, Johnson made it back-to-back weeks of averaging 20-plus as he averaged 24.5 points in road games at Florida Atlantic and South Alabama. He collected his third LSWA Player of the Week honor of the season. Johnson plays his final two home games at the Cajundome this week.

For the second straight week Tyren Johnson has been named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Player of the Week.
A week after averaging 26 points, Johnson made it back-to-back weeks of averaging 20-plus as he averaged 24.5 points in road games at Florida Atlantic and South Alabama.

Johnson also averaged 6.0 rebounds, shot 50 percent (18-of-36) and was 10-of-13 (77%) from the free throw line. He extended his string of double-figure scoring games to 14 straight and recorded his second 30-point game in the past week when he scored 30 at South Alabama last Saturday.

Johnson made at least eight field goals in each contest extending his string of games with at least eight makes to four consecutive games (all games in February).

He took over the game for a 30-second span to give the Cajuns back the lead late in the second half at South Alabama. He nailed a triple from the top of the key and added a steal and coast-to-coast lay-up to give UL a 65-62 edge with 1:41 on the clock. Johnson scored 19 points in the second stanza.

Like he has been doing all season long, Johnson filled out the stat sheet at USA. He finished with three assists, three blocks and four steals.

Johnson scored four points in the final three minutes at FAU – coming on back-to-back possessions – to give the Cajuns a chance at the end. Each basket – coming at 2:54 and 1:54 – put Louisiana in the lead.

The Vacherie, La., native collected his third LSWA honor of the season – all coming in the past four weeks.

Johnson and the Ragin’ Cajuns close out their home schedule this week with a pair of games at the Cajundome. Louisiana hosts Arkansas State on Thursday, Feb. 18 and UL Monroe on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Johnson will be one of five seniors honored prior to the announcement of starting lineups on Saturday night.

TYREN JOHNSON’S 2009-10 SEASON HONORS
Jan. 25 LSWA Player of the Week
Feb. 8 Sun Belt Player of the Week
Feb. 8 LSWA Player of the Week
Feb. 15 LSWA Player of the Week

— Ragin’ Cajuns —

* * * * * * * * * *

Men’s Basketball: Tyren Johnson Collects Honors

February 8, 2010

http://www.ragincajuns.com
Tyren Johnson averaged 26.0 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game in leading Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns to a sweep of FIU and UALR last week, helping the Ragin’ Cajuns remain undefeated at home in Sun Belt play at 7-0. The performance vaulted him into the lead for the Sun Belt Conference’s top scorer. He increased his season average to 17.2 points per game (19.1 per game in SBC play).

A couple of days after taking over as the league’s leading scorer, Tyren Johnson was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week on Monday.
He was also named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Player of the Week.

Johnson averaged 26.0 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game in leading Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns to a sweep of FIU and UALR last week, helping the Ragin’ Cajuns remain undefeated at home in Sun Belt play at 7-0.

The performance also increased his season average to 17.2 points per game (19.1 per game in SBC play) which vaults him into the top spot on the league’s scoring charts ahead of Western Kentucky’s AJ Slaughter (17.0 ppg) and Troy’s Brandon Hazzard (16.9 ppg).

The Vacherie native made 64.5 percent of his shot attempts (20-of-31) and was 5-of-10 (50 percent) from three-point range.

Saturday night against UALR, he scored 30 points and added 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. On Thursday, he tallied a game-high 22 vs. FIU.

The scoring performances extended his streak of scoring in double figures to 12 games – a streak which dates back to the Dec. 28 game vs. Centenary.

He poured in 12 points on five field goal makes in the first half against FIU to lead UL to a 40-29 halftime edge. A triple with 15:30 remaining jumpstarted a 12-2 run that turned a 48-38 lead into a 20-point lead.

Johnson scored 19 second-half points against UALR as the Cajuns outscored the Trojans 42-26 after the break. He scored nine of the team’s first 15 second half points, including a three-point make with 15:20 left to play that stretched the advantage to 50-29.

Johnson also dished out six assists and added four blocks and seven steals to his outstanding performance.

The Sun Belt honor was his first of the season while he picked up LSWA honors for the second time in the past three weeks.

Johnson and the Ragin’ Cajuns (11-12, 8-4 Sun Belt) have risen to sole possession of second place in the Sun Belt West only one game behind leader Arkansas State. The Cajuns are also only one game from the top seed in the Sun Belt Tournament.

Louisiana is on the road this week visiting Boca Raton, Fla., to meet Florida Atlantic on Thursday and Mobile, Ala., to meet South Alabama on Saturday.

— Ragin’ Cajuns —

* * * * * * * * * *

Men’s Basketball: Johnson coming up big for Cajuns

January 27, 2010 Daily Advertiser

The first half of the Sun Belt Conference season has featured plenty of shockers ranging from the struggles of preseason favorite Western Kentucky to Arkansas State’s surprising start.

There is no debating which player has made the most surprising impact in the league so far this season: It is UL forward Tyren Johnson.

The 6-foot-8 senior leads the Ragin’ Cajuns in every major category going into Thursday’s game against West Division leader Arkansas State, averaging 16.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game. He is the league’s second-leading rebounder, third in blocked shots, fourth in scoring, 10th in field goal shooting, 12th in assists and steals and 13th in assist-to-turnover ratio.

No other Sun Belt player ranks in the top 15 of some many categories. That’s not even mentioning his leadership ability, which has played a huge role in the Cajuns rebounding from a slow start to win four of their past five games.

Did we mention that only two other Sun Belt players have played more minutes than Johnson this season? Simply put, no Sun Belt player means more to his team than Johnson, named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Player of the Week after averaging 21 points, nine rebounds and 5.5 assists in two victories last week.

Just like the league race itself, competition for the Sun Belt Player of the Year is also wide open. WKU guard A.J. Slaughter was the Preseason Player of the Year but has struggled at times. Same goes for Denver guard Nate Rohnert and Troy guard Brandon Hazzard.

Middle Tennessee forward Desmond Yates, the 2008-09 Preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year, has averaged 15.6 points since missing the season’s first seven games due to injury, but his overall numbers don’t come close Johnson’s production.

“When you look at the stats, whenever a guy is near the top of all of those categories he is without a doubt a legitimate (Player of the Year) candidate,” UL coach Robert Lee said. “The thing about Tyren is that nobody on our team can match his desire to win and desire to be good. You’re talking about a guy who before the game is going to go to the practice facility and put in 30 to 45 minutes working on his shot and his game.

“I think his desire to be good is starting to rub off on the rest of our guys.”

Here’s the bottom line: Johnson will earn all-conference honors unless he loses his uniform or forgets to show up for the rest of the year, which won’t happen. If the Cajuns continue to win, he will continue to be one of the front-runners for Sun Belt Player of the Year honors.

For now, Johnson isn’t worrying about winning such awards — which is part of the reason his story is so special. His scoring has doubled in each of his college seasons, largely by putting in work on his own outside of practice and away from his teammates and coaches.

“I’m just pushing to keep on doing everything I can for my team, whether it’s rebounding, getting steals or blocking shots,” Johnson said. “I’m just being an anchor, a glue guy.

“I’d like to be player of the year because that means that we’re winning games.”

***
This time a season ago, forward Chris Gradnigo was starting to play better after getting slowed early on by a staph infection. He averaged 16.6 points on 52 percent shooting (45-of-87) in the month of January last season.

Gradnigo, a preseason second team all-conference pick, is heating up again this January. The junior has averaged 20.3 points and made 52 percent of his shots (47-of-90) over the past three weeks. He scored 23 points in losses to Middle Tennessee and Arkansas-Little Rock and a win over New Orleans.

On the season, Gradnigo is averaging a career-high 15.0 points. His field goal shooting has climbed to 43 percent. He shot only 29.4 percent (23-of-78) in the season’s first eight games.

***
Lee recently said that he wants to make sure Johnson and Gradnigo get at least 20 shots apiece a night.

The Cajuns will need for those two players to get those shots every night — and make the majority of them — for the team to have a shot at being a Cinderella team and winning the West Division title and/or the Sun Belt tournament.

Guard Randell Daigle has been a solid third-scoring option so far this season at 11.7 points. Lee wants him to get 10-to-15 shots up a night.

Raymone Andrews, a freshman point guard, has been a major addition for the Cajuns on both ends of the floor for the past three weeks.

Andrews is playing lock-down defense and keeping things settled on the offensive end.

A lot of what he does never makes it into the box score, but his presence has been invaluable.

***
With forward Courtney Wallace still hurt, the Cajuns are leaning on junior Colby Batiste and freshman Javan Mitchell to provide an inside presence.

Both have had their moments. Batiste blocked a career-high five shots against Denver. Mitchell had eight points and a career-best seven rebounds against Arkansas-Little Rock. After neither did much against New Orleans, Batiste added six points and four rebounds in Saturday’s 69-54 win over Troy.

Johnson, Gradnigo and Daigle score the majority of the points for the Cajuns, but guys like Batiste and Mitchell still serve vital roles. For now, they need to defend, grab rebounds and score whenever they get the ball inside.

***
Guard Travis Bureau and forward Lamar Roberson must also chip in a few baskets every night and be able to increase their scoring if Johnson, Gradnigo or Daigle are struggling offensively in a particular game.

Willie Lago, a senior guard, must give Andrews a little breather every night and make positive plays when the ball is in his hands.

* * * * * * * * * *

Men’s Basketball: Tyren Johnson Named LSWA Player of the Week

January 25, 2010

www.ragincajuns.com – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns forward Tyren Johnson has been named the Louisiana Sports Writers Assocation Player of the Week after back-to-back, 21-point efforts lifted his team to a pair of Sun Belt Conference wins.

Behind Johnson’s guidance Louisiana (8-11, 5-3 Sun Belt) remained undefeated (5-0) at the Cajundome in Sun Belt play.

Johnson shot 17-of-31 (54.8%), averaged 21.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in wins over New Orleans and Troy. He nearly had a triple-double against SBC East co-leader Troy, tallying 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists – led UL in all three of those categories.

Huge second half outputs defined his week, scoring 14 vs. UNO and 15 vs. Troy. He scored 13 of the Cajuns’ 20 points in a 20-0 run that propelled the team past UNO on Thursday – changed a 36-29 deficit to a 49-36 lead.

In the Troy game, Johnson scored 14 in the second half to help UL keep pace with the Trojans and maintain a lead of at least seven points the entire stanza. When the Trojans cut the lead to 45-38 with 14:15 remaining, Johnson scored two key inside baskets on back-to-back possessions inside of 13 minutes to push the lead up to 11 points.

Nine rebounds vs. Troy moved him to 158 on the season – a new career-high (previous was 153 in 2008-09) with 10 games left in the regular season.

For the season, Johnson leads Louisiana in both scoring (16.1 ppg) and rebounds (8.3 rpg). He has scored 20-plus points seven times and recorded a double-double five times.

Johnson and the Ragin’ Cajuns play for first place in the Sun Belt West division on Thursday, Jan. 28 as they face current leader Arkansas State (11-8, 6-2 Sun Belt) in Jonesboro.

— Ragin’ Cajuns —

Matt Hebert

Assistant Sports Information Director
University of Louisiana

Cox Communications Athletics Center
201 Reinhardt Drive
Lafayette, LA 70506

Office: (337) 482-6330
Cell: (337) 288-6023
E-mail: matth@louisiana.edu
www.ragincajuns.com

* * * * * * * * *

Men’s Basketball: Johnson has helped save UL’s season

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • December 14, 2009

Soon after speaking with the media following an eight-point loss at LSU on Dec. 1, UL forward Tyren Johnson made a simple request as he walked back to the team’s locker room.

“Don’t give up on us yet,” Johnson said to one particular reporter. “We’re going to turn things around.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns
(3-4, 1-0 Sun Belt) appear to have turned things around with back-to-back wins, and the versatile Johnson has led that charge with a pair of Herculean efforts.

Four days after losing at LSU, Johnson fell just short of the program’s first triple-double in four years with 31 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in a 95-85 win over Sam Houston State. FOXSports.com’s Jeff Goodman honored Johnson, who made 13-of-17 shots in the win, as his Mid-Major Stud of the Day.

Johnson followed with 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in an 81-74 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday as UL won its Sun Belt Conference opener for the third straight season.

The 6-foot-8 senior is still committing too many turnovers (24 in seven games), but his mistakes will decrease as he adjusts to becoming more involved as a playmaker.

His leadership, whether leading by example or the occasional word now and then, has given the Cajuns some much-needed momentum going into Tuesday’s game at Southern Miss.

Johnson has also made himself an early contender for Sun Belt Player of the Year honors along with Troy guard Brandon Hazzard, Denver guard/forward Nate Rohnert and Western Kentucky guard A.J. Slaughter. He is currently the only player to rank among the Sun Belt’s top six in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage.

ooo
The biggest change for UL in the past two games has been on the offensive end.

Last season, the Cajuns ran the dribble-drive motion offense but too often settled for the outside shot during a disappointing 10-20 campaign.

So far this season, UL has taken the 3-pointer when it has been available, but there have been more sets geared toward getting the ball into the hands of whoever is hot at that particular time on isolation plays. There has also been more dedication to attacking the basket, which has given UL’s shooters better looks when the ball is kicked back out because defenders can no longer just crowd them on the perimeter.

With preseason all-conference forward Chris Gradnigo shooting only 20 percent in the season’s first five games, the offense has gone through Johnson during crunch time the past two weeks. Once the guards get him the ball on the wing or at the top of the key, Johnson then has the option to shoot it, drive to the basket or create opportunities for his teammates.

The Cajuns led Sam Houston State, 67-66, with nine minutes left before turning to Johnson, who scored 13 points the rest of the way to seal the road win.

Johnson had only five points on 2-of-7 shooting in the first half against FAU before scoring 18 points in the game’s final 20 minutes.

The Cajuns will become even more dangerous once Gradnigo snaps out of his shooting funk, something that will happen sooner rather than later given his offensive skills.

ooo
Travis Bureau, a junior guard who scored 19 points on Saturday, has continued to expand his game and become less one-dimensional.

As a freshman he took 73 percent of his shots from 3-point range. That number dropped to 52 percent last season. As a junior, he is driving more often to the basket and has taken only half of his shots from outside the arch. He seems more willing to slash to the basket off the dribble, which has made the athletic wing even more of an offensive threat.

Bureau’s defensive skills have also improved. He ranks among the league leaders in steals with nine in seven games. He had 26 steals all of last season.

ooo
Colby Batiste, a raw junior forward from Teurlings Catholic, played with tremendous energy and passion against FAU.

Batiste grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and tied a personal best with nine points, mostly off tip-ins under the basket.

If he continues to play like that, UL coach Robert Lee will have to put Batiste back in the starting lineup.

After starting 11 games last season, Batiste started three times this season before freshman Javan Mitchell took his starting job.

ooo
The Cajuns are still struggling with injuries, but some relief should come in the next few weeks.

Forwards Courtney Wallace (wrist) and La’Ryan Gary (knee) are expected to be cleared later this month or by early January. Both are good enough to start for this team and will give Lee two other experienced options on the court.

While guard Brandon Dison (ankle) is still being evaluated on a week-to-week basis, guard Corey Bloom (groin) could return as soon as this week.

Forward Lamar Roberson (leg) has yet to fulfill his vast potential, but for the first time in his college career is doing whatever the coaches have asked. He could be back soon, too.

The Cajuns are going to need each and every one of those guys to make any sort of run this season.

* * * * * * * * * *

Men’s Basketball: Johnson’s time for UL

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • December 13, 2009

During crunch time, UL once again turned to senior Tyren Johnson.

Johnson struggled in the first half, but took over down the stretch to propel the Ragin’ Cajuns to an 81-74 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams.

The 6-foot-8 forward scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half and grabbed nine rebounds in his second monster performance in the past week. Johnson carried UL (3-4, 1-0 Sun Belt) in last week’s road win over Sam Houston State, falling just short of a triple-double with 31 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.

“It definitely was our plan to get the ball to Tyren as much as possible,” UL coach Robert Lee said. “The credit goes to Tyren Johnson. We’re putting the ball in his hands, and we’re very confident that he is going to make the right plays.

“He did a great job late in the game of making the right plays when we absolutely had to have baskets.”

The Cajuns led by as many as 14 points in the first half but saw FAU (4-4, 0-1) take a 58-57 lead with 8:44 to go. UL regained the lead on Randell Daigle’s jumper seconds later but needed two baskets from Johnson in the final two minutes to hold on for the win before an announced crowd of 2,620 in the Cajundome.

Johnson’s late heroics capped a second half in which he made 6-of-10 shots from the field and 6-of-8 free throws for 18 points. He had only five points on 2-of-7 shooting and missed both of his free throw attempts in the game’s first 20 minutes.

“My confidence is really high,” Johnson said. “I’ve been feeling good, but I just haven’t been looking for my shot as much (before the past two games). There were just certain times when I felt like I needed to take over and be the leader of the team.”

Travis Bureau scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half for the Cajuns. Daigle, Chris Gradnigo and Colby Batiste had nine points apiece. Willie Lago added eight points with some valuable minutes in a reserve role.

Batiste, who matched his career high in points, also had a personal-best 11 rebounds and three blocked shots off the bench.FAU, which started four freshmen, was led by two of those young starters in guards Raymond Taylor and Greg Gantt.

Taylor got into the lane at ease and created opportunities for himself and his teammates, racking up 23 points, five rebounds and five assists. Gantt chipped in 21 points after draining five 3-pointers, but the Owls shot only 38.3 percent in the loss.

“We had a chance to win the game,” Taylor said. “We just didn’t make the decisive plays when we needed them and they did.”

Second-year FAU coach Mike Jarvis said that UL’s length on defense affected his young team as the Cajuns blocked a season-high seven shots.

“We’ve got to get tougher,” said Jarvis, who took Boston University, George Washington and St. John’s to the NCAA Tournament. “They beat us to too many loose balls, and we missed too many layups because we just weren’t tough enough.”

The Cajuns pulled ahead 24-16 with nine minutes left before halftime, but FAU responded with six straight points to make it a two-point game.

Bureau helped UL close the half with a 21-12 run, scoring five points over that stretch as the Cajuns went to the locker room up 45-34 after committing five turnovers and hitting 7-of-14 3s. The athletic guard also recorded an assist with a lob to Johnson for an alley-oop dunk during that spurt.

“We always feel like we can out-run any team with our wings and our post guys,” Bureau said. “That’s what coach wants us to do.”

FAU erased that 11-point deficit to take a 58-57 lead on Taylor’s two free throws with 8:44 to go before Johnson took control in the key moments to seal the comeback win for the Cajuns.

UL, which missed its only two 3-point attempts in the second half, finished with 30 points in the paint after putting an emphasis on being aggressive and driving to the basket in the game’s final minutes.

“I was very pleased to see the character of our team,” said Lee, whose team plays Tuesday at Southern Miss. “We had an 11-point lead, and they (FAU) took a one-point lead, but we were able to come back and win the game. That shows me some growth and character from our guys.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Men’s Basketball: Johnson emerges as top gun for UL

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • December 11, 2009

Tyren Johnson put in a lot of work and plenty of long days in the gym during the offseason to improve his basketball skills going into his senior season at UL. He also took a summer leadership course to become a better team leader.

His quest for self-improvement has produced a breakout season for the 6-foot-8 forward as the Cajuns (2-4) go into Saturday’s 1 p.m. Sun Belt Conference opener against Florida Atlantic (3-3) in the Cajundome.

Johnson ranks in the league’s top 10 in seven different categories, including scoring (15.3 points per game), rebounds (9.5 per game), blocked shots (1.3 per game) and field goal percentage (.636).

The former West St. John standout stuffed the stat sheet with a monster effort in a 95-85 win over Sam Houston State on the road last Saturday. Johnson set career highs with 31 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, falling just short of the program’s first triple-double since Michael Southall had one against North Texas on Jan. 5, 2006.

Johnson’s performance resulted in him being named the “Mid-Major Stud of the Night” by FOXSports.com’s Jeff Goodman.

“I was looking for my shot a whole lot more,” Johnson said. “I think it had something to do with my comfort level. Something told me that I just needed to take over.”

UL coach Robert Lee was obviously elated with Johnson’s numbers.

“We’d love to get that every game,” Lee said. “That would be a real blessing, but we don’t expect to get that every game. Tyren is a guy who is going to give you a consistent effort every night. You know he’s going to rebound, make some plays defensively and find a way to get you 10 to 15 points.

“Hopefully, now we can take those 10 to 15 points and turn them into 20 points. I think that’s something he can do, and he has that blessing and has earned that right because of how hard he has worked.”

If Johnson can maintain his current production, it would be the third consecutive season in which he has drastically improved his individual numbers from the previous year.

His scoring (1.6 points per game to 3.1 to 7.2 to 15.3) and rebounding (1.7 rebounds per game to 3.5 to 5.1 to 9.5) totals have climbed by substantial margins since he arrived as a freshman in 2006-07.

“I still rebound and block shots and do all the dirty work,” Johnson said. “I try to be the glue guy like a lot of guys called me last year. My main thing is hustling and being a leader and being a good example. The points will come if I keep on playing hard.”