Cajuns Down South Alabama in Final Minutes, 88-84
P. J. Hardy and Cedric Russell hit back to back three point shots to give Louisiana the lead for good with 2:20 to play, leading the Cajuns to an 88-84 win over South Alabama Thursday night before 3,847 at the Cajundome.
With the score tied at 75 with 3:55 left, the Cajuns took the lead on a Justin Miller basket at the 3:07 mark. Trhae Mitchell scored the last of his career high 31 points on a jumper with 2:39 to play to tie the score at 77. But Hardy Hit a triple from the corner with 2:20 to go, stole the ball from Herb McGee and JaKeenan Gant found Russell open for a triple to give the Cajuns a two possession lead 83-77 with 1:33 to play. Hardy answered two Josh Ajayi free throws with a pair of his own, giving the Cajuns an 85-79 lead with :36 left. Another Hardy free throw gave the Cajuns their biggest lead of the night with :20 to play. Herb McGee hit a three pointer and after the Cajuns missed a pair of free throws, R. J. Kelly made a layup with :03 left to get the Jaguars (9-11, 2-5 Sun Belt) within two. But Gant calmly made a pair of free throws to ice the game.
Gant led the Cajuns (12-7. 3-3) with 28 points on 10-19 shooting. Hardy scored 18 and Jerekius Davis added 17. Russell had a season high 15 for the Cajuns, hitting 5-9 from three point range.
Mitchell had a dozen rebounds to go with his 31 points, while Ajayi also had a double double with 23 points and 12 boards. John Pettway added 14 points while McGee scored ten.
South Alabama had an early 5-0 lead and that turned out to be their biggest lead of the contest in a tight game that saw eleven ties and 19 lead changes. Mitchell hit ten of his first 14 shots en route to 23 points at halftime, but only made three of nine in the second half. Gant had 14 points of his own in the first half as Louisiana took a 41-39 lead into the locker room.
Both teams shot the ball well, with South Alabama shooting 50% from the field (30-60), while the Cajuns shot 48% (28-58). But the Cajuns hit 12-27 from beyond the arc, while South Alabama managed just 6-21.
Louisiana wraps up the two game homestand, hosting Troy Saturday night at 7:00 pm.