Men's Basketball: Ragin' Cajuns roll in basketball season-opener + Coach Marlin Milestone, Photo Ga
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Nov. 5, 2019
New names. New faces.
There were plenty of both for the UL basketball team as it opened its 2019-20 season Tuesday night at the Cajundome with a 95-67 win over nationally ranked NAIA-member Loyola of New Orleans.
And they left some favorable impressions, too, as St. Louis University-transfer Jalen Johnson led the way with 22 points and nine rebounds, Daytona State College-transfer Dou Gueye hustled for 15 points and nine boards, and redshirt freshman Kobe Julien added 15 points as well in his Ragin’ Cajuns debut.
“I think we grew in our chemistry today,” said Johnson, who sat out last season in accord with NCAA transfer rules.
Coach Bob Marlin, however, was not totally thrilled, as six Cajuns played in their first NCAA Division I game and UL wound up turning the ball over 22 times.
Redshirt freshman Kobe Julien drives to the basket in UL's season-opening win over Loyola of New Orleans on Tuesday night. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network)
“They played hard, but they threw it around the gym all night,” Marlin said. “Really disappointed in that.
“We should have handled their pressure a little better. But a good opening statement by our team.”
Marlin did seem especially with pleased with the play of his youngsters, as four true freshmen played — Mylik Wilson, who had 11 points and four assists; Javonne Lowry, who put in seven; Chris Spenkuch, who scored six and had seven rebounds; and Calvin Temple, who finished with four points.
“What we did tonight was pretty much what we’ve seen in practice,” the Cajuns coach said.
“Mylik Wilson is really gifted and quick. Javonne Lowery is quick. I felt like Chris Spenkuch really helped himself in my mind. He rebounded the ball, was aggressive, made simple plays. … Calvin Temple helped himself by laying out on the floor.”
Marlin also liked the start Julien helped the Cajuns get off to — he missed all of last season rehabbing from knee surgery — and said Johnson “did a nice job” including 3-for-5 3-point shooting.
Gueye ran the floor hard and finished 6-of-10 from the field, including one made trey.
“That’s what Dou does,” Marlin said.
“He can make a 3, he can do a little bit of everything. (But) he turned it over too many times tonight (five) and tried to make the home run pass. … trying to thread the needle instead of making the simple basketball play.”
UL led 44-30 at halftime and maintained its double-digit lead in the second half, stretching it to as high as 31 on a Lowery dunk in the final 30 seconds.
Senior guard P.J. Hardy wasn’t on the bench for Tuesday’s game.
Marlin said Hardy was “suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.”
“Disappointed that that took place this morning on game day,” Marlin said. “It’s my decision.”
Hardy, from St. Louis Catholic in Lake Charles, is UL’s lone scholarship senior.
He averaged 7.0 points per game last season, including 10.0 in Sun Belt Conference play.
Hardy had been scheduled to start Tuesday, but sophomore guard Trajan Wesley started instead.
UL announced shortly before the start of Tuesday’s game that the NCAA had approved freshman guard Calvin Temple’s appeal waiver, making him eligible this season.
“That was big,” Marlin said.
Temple — who is from the Memphis, Tennessee, area, but played his high school ball in nearby Mississippi — made a late transfer to UL after an offseason coaching change at IUPUI, where he briefly spent part of the summer.
He made his Cajun debut in Tuesday’s first half.
Marlin said Wesley, who did not play in the second half, hurt his foot. He had been already dealing with a foot injury that cost him much of the summer.
Marlin recorded his 400th career win as an NCAA Division I coach, becoming the 35th active coach to do so. … UL’s starters were Russell, Wesley, Johnson, Julien and Gueye. … Cajuns who did not dress included Mason Aucoin (back), Tirus Smith (illness) and Durey Cadwell (knee surgery; out for the season). ... Terry Smith Jr. led Loyola with 20 points.
UL 1-0; Loyola 3-1
UL plays host to McNeese at 7 p.m. Saturday.