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Cajuns’ Defense Thwarts UALR, 79-70

Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns shot 54 percent in the second half against the league’s second-best defensive team and rode a stifling defense of their own to a 79-70 win over Arkansas-Little Rock before 2,436 at the Cajundome Saturday night.

The Cajuns (6-9, 2-2 Sun Belt) jumped out to an early 24-11 lead, but UALR had a parade at the free throw line to take a three point lead, 37-34 at halftime.  UALR shot 18-20 from the charity stripe in the first half, while the Cajuns were just 2-4.

But the Cajuns got off to a good start in the second half, and allowed the Trojans to make just 12-41 from the field (29.3%) in the second half to take the win.  UALR got to the free throw line just ten times in the second half.

Bryant Mbamalu had his second straight outstanding Saturday night performance as he scored a season-high 26 points on 9-14 shooting to lead the Cajuns’ attack.  The junior from Houston added four assists, three rebounds and a steal in 37 minutes.  He did not commit a turnover.

Alan-Michael Thompson added 13 points off the bench for the Cajuns, while Elfrid Payton added twelve points and six assists and freshman Shawn Long recorded another double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Junior forward Will Neighbour led UALR with 17 points and 14 rebounds,w hile freshman Josh Hagins added 14 points for the Trojans (8-7, 2-2).  The Trojans outrebounded the smaller Cajuns, 44-32.

Louisiana will now make the Florida swing next week, taking on Florida Atlantic on Thursday and FIU on Saturday.

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