LAFAYETTE – Marcus Stroman scored six of his 21 points in a decisive 15-5 run and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns closed out a two-game homestand as it rallied to defeat Troy, 86-81, in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at the Cajundome.
JaKeenan Gant posted his eighth double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds as Louisiana (13-7, 4-3 SBC) placed four players in double figures and swept its first SBC weekend of the season.
Louisiana, which went 16-for-28 (57 percent) from the floor in the second half, trailed 76-71 on a pair of free throws by Darian Adams with 4:18 remaining before tying the game on its next two possessions. Gant, who finished 8-for-14 from the floor and 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point line, followed up a miss by P.J. Hardy with a dunk before Cedric Russell drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner, tying the game at 76-all with 3:14 left.
The Ragin' Cajuns took a 78-76 lead when Justin Miller sank a pair of free throws with 2:33 remaining before Troy (10-10, 3-5 SBC) tied the game on a bucket by Jordon Varnado.
Stroman, who finished 7-for-14 from the floor and dished out seven assists, put Louisiana up for good, 80-78 when he drove the lane for a bucket, and after a missed jumper by Varnado, Miller added a pair of free throws for an 82-78 lead with 1:25 left.
Troy added a bucket by Alex Hicks with 1:08 left, cutting the Ragin' Cajuns lead to 82-80, but Stroman was fouled on the next possession and his two free throws extended Louisiana's lead to 84-80.
Stroman, who scored 15 points in the second half, sealed the win for Louisiana after splitting a pair of defenders and scoring on a layup before hauling in a missed 3-point attempt by Varnado to close out the win.
Jerekius Davis scored 14 points for Louisiana while Hardy added 13. Russell, who was held scoreless in the first half, helped Louisiana close to within 72-71 with his first bucket of the night with 5:22 remaining before his game-tying bucket after the Trojans took a 76-71 lead.
The trio of Varnado, Hicks and Javan Johnson combined for 73 of Troy's 81 points and 31 of its 35 rebounds.
Varnado recorded a double-double for Troy with 33 points and 11 rebounds. Hicks also recorded a double-double scoring 20 points and grabbing 14 rebounds while Javan Johnson scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half.
Louisiana will return to action on Thursday (Jan. 31) when it travels to face Appalachian State in Boone, N.C. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on ESPN?
SEASON TICKETS AVAILABLE • Season tickets, beginning at $100, are available online at RaginCajuns.com using Account Manager, or by calling the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at (337) 265-2357. • All current UL faculty and staff, along with recent graduates (within the last five years), can purchase season tickets at a 50-percent discount to cheer on the Ragin' Cajuns during the 2018-19 season at the Cajundome. • The special package will allow recent graduates of Louisiana to purchase tickets in sections 101-103. Discounts will be applied upon confirmation of graduate status by the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office.
GET YOUR PASSPORT • The game against Southern is part of the "Louisiana Passport," which will recognize Ragin' Cajuns fans who attend all eight of Louisiana's scheduled games against in-state opponents during the 2018-19 season. • Each game, beginning with the Ragin' Cajuns Nov. 28 game at New Orleans, fans will get their passport stamped at a location to be determined. In-state games for the Ragin' Cajuns include home games against Southern (Dec. 1), Loyola (Dec. 5), Louisiana Tech (Dec. 15) and ULM (Feb. 16), with additional road games slated against McNeese State (Dec. 18), Southeastern Louisiana (Dec. 29) and ULM (Jan. 19). • At Louisiana's game against ULM at the Cajundome on Feb. 16, those who have a completed passport with eight stamps will be recognized on the court at some point during the game. • For more information on tickets, contact the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at (337) 265-2357. For information concerning parking, contact the RCAF at (337) 851-2903.
CAJUNS CARE TICKET INITIATIVE • Help Louisiana Athletics continue to give back! After a successful start during the 2018 football season, the Cajuns Care program will allow Ragin' Cajuns fans the opportunity to purchase Louisiana men's basketball season tickets for $20. • Tickets purchased through the Cajuns Care program will be donated to local charitable and philanthropic initiatives, including Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana, the United Way and area military servicemen and servicewomen. • Fans and supporters of Louisiana men's basketball can find the option to purchase Cajuns Care season tickets online, by calling the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the Cajundome (337-265-2357) or visiting in-person.
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