Ragin’ Cajuns Fall Short Of Upsetting Creighton
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns fought till the very end, but a fantastic season comes to an end in San Antonio as they fall to Creighton, 76-66.
The Cajuns finish the season 23-12 with the loss but still cashed in on the season with a Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship. Coach Bobby Marlin and his team said their mission was March all year, and they made it. Not everybody can pull an upset over a No. 14 seed like Mercer.
Director of Basketball Operations Mike Murphy knows their players put up a valiant effort against Creighton. Some things just can't be prevented.
"It just seemed like every time they needed a big shot, McDermott hit a three or Wragge hit a three," Murphy said during postgame.
National Player of the Year Doug McDermott had a double-double at halftime and finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds with clutch buckets down the stretch. Ethan Wragge only had 12 points, but they came off four three balls that couldn't have come at worse times for the Cajuns.
Elfrid Payton took the opportunity to impress the national stage and ran with it. Payton played solid defense on McDermott in the first half and was driving to the rim with great success to keep the Cajuns close in the second. Payton stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points, 8 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block to impress the NBA scouts present.
Shawn Long also turned in 15 points and 7 rebounds despite working with foul trouble after picking up two fouls in the first minute of the second half. Long and Payton tried to do their part, but the third scorer the Cajuns desperately needed never showed up.
Neither team led by double-digits until very late in the second half, and what was expected to be an exciting first round game turned out to be exactly that.
This marks the last game in vermillion and black for Bryant Mbamalu, Elridge Moore and Braylon Lazare. Mbamalu picked up career-high point totals down the stretch and earned Sun Belt Tournament Outstanding Player. Those fine young gentleman helped win a Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and left a fine mark on the program.
All good things must come to an end, and the Ragin's Cajuns season definitely falls under the category of amazing. They weren't picked to win the Sun Belt Conference, but they believed in themselves the entire year and delivered.
Their mission was March, and they accomplished that goal. Success breeds success, and Bob Marlin has this team set firmly on the course to greatness. All you can ask for is a chance to dance.
Relive some of the final moments against Creighton with these pictures before calling it quits for the season.