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Men's Basketball: Clutch Shooting Carries UTA Past Louisiana, 91-86
Final game of two-game series set for Saturday at 4 p.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas – Shahada Wells scored a career-high 31 points while UT Arlington got clutch shooting late from behind the 3-point line and charity stripe in a 91-86 win over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in a Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball game on Friday at College Park Center.
Jordan Phillips came off the bench to score 17 points as UTA (7-6, 3-2 Sun Belt) sank 11 3-pointers and went 24-for-28 from the free throw line, including 17 of 18 in the second half in winning its third straight game. Louisiana (8-4, 2-3 Sun Belt), playing its first game on the road in 44 days, was led by Cedric Russell's 17 points with Dou Gueye adding 13.
Both teams battled through 15 ties and seven lead changes through the first half before UTA built a 40-36 lead the break. Wells, who 9-for-18 from the floor and 10-for-11 from the free throw line, scored six points in an 15-3 run after a bucket by Theo Akwuba cut the Mavs' lead to 48-47 with 15:52 remaining.
Patrick Mwamba opened the run for UTA with a 3-pointer before Wells and Grayson Carter followed with baskets to extend the Mavs lead to 55-47.
After two free throws by Phillips which gave UTA a 67-56 lead with 8:49 remaining, Louisiana responded with a 12-3 run to cut the deficit to 70-68. After a bucket by Mylik Wilson cut the UTA lead to 72-70 with 3:41 left, Sam Griffin would answer for the Mavs with back-to-back 3-pointers and Louisiana would never get closer than three points the rest of the night.
Griffin finished with 14 points for UTA with Mwamba adding 13. Wells grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists for the Mavs with Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu recording six of UTA's 11 blocks – the most allowed by the Ragin' Cajuns this season.
Wilson scored nine of his 11 points in the second half for Louisiana with Jacobi Gordon tying a career-high with 10 and Akwuba 10. Akwuba grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to notch his sixth double-double of the season with Brayan Au scoring eight points and dishing out a game-high six assists.
Louisiana, which was shooting 80 percent from the free throw line in Sun Belt Conference play, made 11 of 21 attempts from the free throw line. The Ragin' Cajuns finished 33-for-75 (44.0 percent) from the floor and 9-for-22 (40.9 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will wrap up the two-game series with UTA on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN and broadcast in the Lafayette area on KPEL 96.5 FM. After facing UTA, Louisiana will return home to host Arkansas State in a two-game series Jan. 22-23 at the Cajundome.
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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