Louisiana Breaks Losing Streak With 69-59 Win Against Troy
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball team used a late run to break their three-game losing streak by beating the Troy Trojans 69-59 in the Cajundome on Saturday night.
With the win, Louisiana improved to 9-8 overall and 4-3 in Sun Belt Conference play. Head coach Bob Marlin was proud of his team's effort in the victory.
"We played extremely hard," Marlin said. "We knew they were coming in confident with swag. It was a team effort, and the guys played hard and battled. I'm proud of them."
Louisiana's leading scorer Jordan Brown was ruled out before the game with an upper body injury. The Trojans entered the game tied with Arkansas State atop of the Sun Belt with a 4-1 conference record. After suffering a disappointing loss to South Alabama on Thursday, the Cajuns answered Marlin's call to play with more intensity against a good Troy team.
"We did drop our heads the other night," Marlin said. "We had a good meeting and film session, and the guys wanted to come out and redeem themselves. They did tonight."
Neither team started well offensively. Louisiana hit only one of their first seven shot attempts while Troy started 2-8. A three-pointer by Greg Williams Jr. cut the Trojans lead to 7-5.
Williams and forward Dou Gueye each hit shots, and a pair of free throws by forward Joe Charles gave Louisiana their first lead of the night at 12-10 midway through the first half.
Gueye converted a three-point play and added a tip in following a three-pointer by Troy. The Trojans broke a four-minute drought without a field goal, but they were able to stay competitive due to good free throw shooting.
Forward Kobe Julien hit his first three-point attempt to break the tie, and a layup by Charles gave the Cajuns a five-point lead.
Troy responded with an 8-0 run in two minutes to take a 28-25 lead, but Cajuns guard Kentrell Garnett hit a three to tie it.
A dunk and great defensive stop at the end of the first half by Louisiana forward Theo Akwuba sent the Cajuns into the break with a 30-28 lead.
The Cajuns locked down the Trojans to start the second half. In the first four minutes, Louisiana's defense forced six Troy turnovers. Julien and guard Trajan Wesley hit back-to-back threes to give the Cajuns a seven-point, 37-30 advantage.
Troy went on a two-minute scoring drought after getting within four, and Gueye and Julien each hit shots to stretch the lead back out to eight points. However, the Cajuns offense went cold following the layup by Julien, and an 8-0 run by the Trojans tied the game at 45. Garnett hit a big three-pointer, but Troy instantly answered with their own deep shot to keep the game tied.
Troy seemingly had a response for every run the Cajuns went on in the second half, but Louisiana had one last push. Williams' second three of the night gave the Cajuns a 60-57 lead with less than three minutes remaining.
Julien followed that big shot by Williams with a jumper, and, after Troy's 17th turnover, Wesley hit a pair of free throws. Another defensive stop by the Cajuns ended in Garnett's third three. Louisiana's late 10-0 run put the game out of reach, making it 67-57 with 49 seconds left.
Each team hit a pair of late free throws, and the clock ran out. The Cajuns finally broke their three-game losing streak with a 69-59 victory thanks to the late push. It was a huge bounce-back win after a disappointing loss on Thursday.
Up next, Louisiana has two more home conference games next week starting with a match up against Georgia State on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7:00 p.m. The Panthers were preseason favorites in the Sun Belt, but they are off to a 6-9 start and are 0-4 in conference play. The Cajuns will look to start a winning streak with that game.