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Men's Basketball: Second Half Surge Lifts Louisiana Past Nicholls
THIBODAUX – With a dominant second half the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball team claimed a 105-80 win over Nicholls on Friday at Stopher Gym.
Louisiana (6-2) shot 69 percent from the floor (18-of-26) and converted 75 percent at the free throw line (22-of-29) in outscoring Nicholls (4-4) by a 61-32 margin in the second stanza. Defensively, the Ragin' Cajuns limited the Colonels to 9-of-37 shooting after the break.
The Ragin' Cajuns turned the tables on the Colonels with a 21-0 run spanning the 15:30 through 9:35 mark which erased a 62-52 deficit.
The win extended Louisiana's current win streak to three games. The squad moved to 2-0 on its current stretch of six consecutive games against in-state foes which continues Wednesday against Loyola (La.) at the Cajundome.
The Ragin' Cajuns and Colonels met for the first time in Thibodaux since Feb. 1971.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Johnathan Stove produced a career-high 23 points to lead six Ragin' Cajuns who reached double digits.
JaKeenan Gant also posted a career-high scoring total, scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half. Frank Bartley also had a big second half, tallying 14 of his 19 points in the stanza.
Bryce Washington (10 points, 12 rebounds) and Malik Marquetti (13 points, 11 rebounds) each turned in a double-double. Washington's point total pushed him past Lonnie Thomas into the Top 40 scoring list in school history.
Stove tallied seven assists to lead a quartet of Cajuns with at least three as the squad adjusted to starting point guard Marcus Stroman (hip injury) missing the contest. Louisiana had an assist on 21 of 32 made baskets.
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
The Ragin' Cajuns head into final exams week starting on Monday. The squad takes a break on Wednesday (Dec. 6) to face Loyola (La.) in a 7 p.m. contest in the Cajundome.
HOW IT HAPPENED
In a physical first half, the Colonels took advantage of nine Louisiana turnovers which led to 15 points and a 14-of-25 showing at the free throw line by the visitors to head into the locker room leading 48-44.
Three quick baskets by Nicholls, off Louisiana turnovers, in the first 1:10 of the second half gave the hosts a 54-44 lead.
Louisiana was trading baskets and unable to crack the Nicholls advantage until a switch in defense following the media timeout at 15:46. The Ragin' Cajuns also dialed up the intensity on offense pulling even in just over two minutes.
In the first two possessions out of the timeout, Stove drove to the hoop each time and made four free throws over a 30-second span. Bartley drained a triple at 14:54, converted a layup at 13:40 and Washington sank a free throw at 13:10 to even the score at 62-all.
Bartley put Louisiana ahead for good with freebies at 12:53, then the Ragin' Cajuns scored on four straight possessions starting at the 12:10 mark to forge ahead 72-62 just inside of 10 minutes to play.
Nicholls snapped a scoring drought of six-plus minutes with a Tevon Saddler basket at 9:35 that lowered the deficit to single digits (73-64). It was short-lived as the Ragin' Cajuns raced to the other end for a pair of Bartley free throws that returned the lead to double digits 12 seconds later.
Bartley's tallies marked the start of an 18-5 Louisiana push over the next three minutes that extended the lead to 91-69.
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