Cajuns Basketball Use 2nd Half Flurry, Win Quarterfinal Matchup against South Alabama 79-68
The Louisiana men's basketball team overcame a slow shooting start and utilized a huge second-half run to win their Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinal matchup against South Alabama 79-68.
The Jaguars got off to a hot start from the field in the game, starting 11-17 and hitting four of their first seven three-pointers. They jumped out to a 26-15 lead, but the Cajuns tightened up their defense and answered with a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 28-27.
However, it was the closest the Cajuns would get before halftime, and the Jaguars went into the break with a 33-29 lead. The Cajuns' three-point shooting was abysmal in the first half. They attempted 10 threes and failed to hit a single one. South Alabama held the edge in that regard with five threes made in the first half, but their overall shooting cooled down.
Louisiana's offense finally got things going midway through the second half. Senior guard Cedric Russell buried the Cajuns' first three-pointer of the game seven minutes into the second half to tie the game at 46. This shot, however, was just the beginning.
The Cajuns went on a massive 23-2 run in the second half, hitting shots, forcing turnovers, and dominating the boards. An eight-point deficit earlier in the second half turned into a 16-point, 64-48 lead for Louisiana. In a flurry that lasted over six minutes, Louisiana was suddenly in complete control with just under seven minutes of game time left in the quarterfinal matchup.
In the final minutes, the Cajuns were able to hold on to the 79-68 victory using clutch shooting from the field and free-throw line.
Louisiana dominated South Alabama in the paint. They outscored the Jaguars 50-28 in paint points and 26-5 in second-chance points. The Cajuns also outrebounded South Alabama 53-29 in the game.
The Cajuns had three separate players record double-doubles in the matchup. Junior forward Theo Akwuba led the way with 19 points on 9-12 shooting and had 14 rebounds. Senior forward Dou Gueye had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore guard Mylik Wilson had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Louisiana.
With the win, the Cajuns improved to 17-8 on the season. Up next, they face the Georgia State Panthers in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament semifinals.