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Men's Basketball: Louisiana Earns Hard Fought 66-64 Win Over Little Rock + game photo gallery
SBC win No. 11 ties Marlin with UAB's Gene Bartow for third place
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LAFAYETTE – Cedric Russell sank a pair of game-tying free throws with 1:09 remaining and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns held off defending Sun Belt Conference champion Little Rock, 66-64, in the first of a two-game series on Friday at the Cajundome.
The win for Louisiana (8-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) earned head coach Bob Marlin his 111th career victory in Sun Belt Conference play, tying him with legendary coach Gene Bartow of UAB (1979-91) for third place in league history.
In a game that featured 13 lead changes and 17 ties, Louisiana never trailed after two buckets by Mylik Wilson gave the Ragin' Cajuns a 42-40 lead with 13:24 remaining. Five straight points by freshman Ty Harper, capped by a 3-pointer from the right wing, gave Louisiana a 51-46 lead – the largest cushion by either team in the game.
Little Rock (6-4, 2-1 Sun Belt) stayed close, tying the contest six times in the final 8:47 and losing Nikola Maric to fouls with 6:20 remaining.
A free by Marko Andric with 5:59 remaining tied the game at 58-58 but Russell buried a 3-pointer on the Ragin' Cajuns following possession, giving Louisiana a 61-58 lead at the 5:47 mark.
Louisiana would miss its last six attempts from the floor the rest of the game, but made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch as Dou Gueye, Theo Akwuba and Russell each converted for the Ragin' Cajuns.
The Trojans missed an opportunity to twice tie the game in the final minute as Kris Bankston missed a short jumper and forced Louisiana into a desperation shot on the ensuing possession with the shot clock winding down.
After Ruot Monyyong collected his 13th rebound of the contest, Little Rock had one final opportunity to score, but Monyyong's 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the front of the rim.
Russell and Akwuba scored 12 points each to lead Louisiana with Wilson and freshman Isaiah Richards adding 10 points each. Akwuba grabbed 13 rebounds to record his fourth double-double of the season for the Ragin' Cajuns with Richards pulling down nine.
Maric led Little Rock with 18 points, going 8-for-13 from the floor, with Monyyong adding 17 on 8-for-14 aim.
The teams will conclude their two-game series on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN? and broadcast in the Lafayette area on both KPEL 96.5 FM and ESPN 1420 AM.
Season-ticket holders can download their tickets through mobile ticketing from Ticketmaster. Fans can download the #GeauxCajuns app to their smart phone to begin the process. Season-ticket holders who are unable to download tickets or wish to have printed can visit the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the Cajundome to have them printed.
For more information on Men's Basketball tickets, fans can call the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at (337) 265-2170.
The Cajundome will operate at a significantly reduced capacity for the 2020-21 season (unless state COVID-19 policy changes during the season). This will allow for fans and University students to be accommodated this season. The Department of Athletics will quickly communicate any schedule adjustments or changes to attendance protocols through its social media channels and RaginCajuns.com.
In the interest of public safety and following the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) Best Practices Guide, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Athletics Department is implementing a clear bag policy at all venues that host ticketed events effective with the 2020-21 competition season. Information about the clear bag policy can be found by visiting www.RaginCajuns.com/clearbag.
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