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Men's Basketball: Russell, Hardy Fuel Comeback Win For Louisiana, 77-74 + photo gallery
Russell, Hardy Fuel Comeback Win For Louisiana, 77-74
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LAFAYETTE – Cedric Russell and P.J. Hardy combined for 32 of Louisiana's 52 points in the second half with Russell drilling a go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the key with 41 seconds remaining to lead the Ragin' Cajuns to a 77-74 come-from-behind victory over Arkansas State in a Sun Belt Conference game on Wednesday at the Cajundome.
Louisiana (12-17, 7-11 Sun Belt) rallied from a 14-point deficit in the first half and trailed 37-25 at halftime before outscoring A-State (15-15, 7-12 Sun Belt), 52-37, in the final 20 minutes. The win by Louisiana moved them into a tie with idle Coastal Carolina for eighth-place in the Sun Belt Conference standings. The Ragin' Cajuns and Chanticleers will wrap up the regular-season facing off for the only time on Tuesday (March 3) at the Cajundome.
Russell scored 19 of his team-high 22 points in the second half as Louisiana went 18-for-29 (62.1 percent) from the floor in the second half while holding the Red Wolves to 12-for-29, including 0-for-6 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana trailed 44-34 with 16:57 remaining and 48-40 at the 13:48 mark before clawing back and taking the lead with under 10 minutes to play.
Hardy, who scored 19 points with a career-high tying six 3-pointers, hit back-to-back 3's for the Ragin' Cajuns before assisting on Kristian Lafayette's eventual game-tying bucket that knotted the score at 50-all with 10:29 left.
After an A-State turnover on its next possession, Russell gave Louisiana its first lead since midway in the first half on a drive to the basket before his steal would lead to an alley-oop dunk by freshman Mylik Wilson that would cap a 14-2 run.
The Ragin' Cajuns led 65-59 on a pair of free throws by Dou Gueye with 3:55 remaining before A-State would bounce back and regain the lead on Marquis Eaton's layup for a 69-68 lead with 1:29 left.
Russell and Eaton, who scored a game-high 28 points to lead A-State, would trade buckets before Russell's eventual 3-pointer from the top of the key gave Louisiana the lead for good.
Russell, who finished 8-for-18 from the floor and had a season-high four steals, hit a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining and the Red Wolves would miss a pair of eventual game-tying 3-point attempts in the final seconds as they dropped their eighth straight game.
Jalen Johnson scored 12 points for Louisiana, which forced 19 turnovers and went 15-for-19 from the free throw line. Wilson, the lone Division I freshman averaging 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals per game, finished with 10 points for the Ragin' Cajuns while pulling down a team-high eight rebounds with a steal and a blocked shot.
Canberk Kus posted a double-double for Arkansas State scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Caleb Fields added 11 points for the Red Wolves, who will wrap up the regular-season on Tuesday at Georgia Southern.
Louisiana will close out the regular-season road schedule on Saturday when it travels to face Sun Belt leader Little Rock in a 2 p.m. contest at the Jack Stephens Center.
at Little Rock
2/29/2020 | 2 p.m.
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