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Men's Basketball: Louisiana Comeback Not Enough In 60-57 Loss To Jags
Wilson scores career-high 17 points with five 3's; Cajuns host Troy on Saturday
1/4/2020 | 7 p.m.
Hot 107.9 / ESPN 1420 AM
LAFAYETTE – South Alabama's Andre Fox came off the bench and scored 14 points while Josh Ajayi posted a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds as the Jaguars claimed a 60-57 victory over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in a Sun Belt Conference men's basketball game on Thursday at the Cajundome.
South Alabama (8-6, 1-2 Sun Belt) made 15 of 17 attempts from the free throw line and got a key defensive stop in the final seconds when John Pettway blocked a potential game-tying 3-point attempt by Louisiana's Jalen Johnson.
Louisiana (5-9, 0-3 Sun Belt) opened the game on an 8-1 run that was capped by a free throw by Tirus Smith with 14:51 remaining in the first half. The Ragin' Cajuns forced South Alabama to miss its first eight shots from the floor before a bucket by Chad Lott with 14:23 left before a steal and layup by Tyreke Locure cut the Louisiana lead to 8-5.
After Dou Gueye drained a 3-pointer that gave Louisiana an 11-7 lead at the 12:43 mark, the Ragin' Cajuns would go cold from the floor as South Alabama went on a 10-0 run that included 3-pointers by Locure and Herb McGee.
A pair of free throws by Ajayi at the 9:21 mark gave the Jaguars a 17-11 lead before Louisiana would respond as Mylik Wilson's bucket started a 7-0 run.
Johnson added a bucket for the Ragin' Cajuns before Gueye got behind the South Alabama defense on a fast break and scored to give Louisiana an 18-17 lead with 7:57 left in the half. The Ragin' Cajuns would take their final lead of the night when walk-on freshman Jaylon Williams buried his first collegiate attempt – a 3-pointer from the right wing – that gave Louisiana a 25-24 lead with 3:06 remaining.
But buckets by Fox and Ajayi in the final minute would give South Alabama a 28-25 lead heading into intermission.
Cedric Russell, who was 0-for-7 from the floor in the first half before scoring all 12 of his points in the second half, twice got Louisiana to within two points early in the second half as his second 3-pointer of the night got the Ragin' Cajuns to within 33-31 with 18:01 remaining, but the Jaguars would score the next nine points to take a 42-31 lead after a bucket by Fox.
The Jaguars led 58-51 on a bucket by Fox with 4:33 remaining before Louisiana would close to within 60-57 on Russell's 3-pointer with 57 seconds left. The Ragin' Cajuns forced a missed shot by Fox on the Jaguars' next possession, but Louisiana was able to take one shot in the final minute as South Alabama was able to foul twice in the final 20-plus seconds after being called for three during the first 19 minutes of the half.
Louisiana, which was already without three players due to season-ending injuries along with senior P.J. Hardy (ankle), played the final 15:43 without starting point guard Trajan Wesley. The sophomore, who dished out a season-high tying six assists for the Ragin' Cajuns, took a hard fall under the Jaguar basket and did not return.
The Ragin' Cajuns finished 19-for-58 from the floor, sinking a season-high 12 3-pointers while tying a school-record with 41 attempts. Wilson scored a career-high 17 points for Louisiana, going 5-for-9 from behind the 3-point line while grabbing seven rebounds. Gueye came off the bench to score 14 points and grab nine rebounds while Smith blocked a career-high four shots.
Louisiana will return to action on Saturday (Jan. 4) when it plays host to Troy (5-9, 1-2 Sun Belt) in a 7 p.m. contest at the Cajundome. Tickets for the 2019-20 campaign are currently on sale at the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the Cajundome, by phone at (337) 265-2357, or on-line at RaginCajuns.com/MBBTix.
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