Cajuns Top McNeese, 89-78
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns raced out to a 22 point lead in each half and went on to defeat McNeese State 89-78 before 3,489 at the Cajundome Tuesday night.
Yet, head coach Bob Marlin was less than pleased.
"We jumped on them early, then played sloppy the last five minutes of the first half. We got back on top of them, then got sloppy again down the stretch. We addressed that at length in the locker room."
USC transfer Malik Marquetti scored a career high 17 points, including five three pointers, to lead the Cajuns. Ja'Keenan Gant added 16 points, while Frank Bartley IV and Johnathan Stove added eleven points each. Stove was seeing his first action since the season opener at Ole Miss.
"I thought Johnathan played well tonight," Marlin said. He forced a shot early but got things going in the second half."
McNeese (2-4) was led by Stephen Oguchuwku, who tallied a double double with 20 points and twelve rebounds. Kalob and Jacob Ledoux, products of Lafayette Christian Academy, scored 16 and 14 respectively, while Jarren Greenwood tallied 15.
"We got outrebounded tonight," Marlin said. "When Bryce (Washington) and Ja'Keenan weren't in the game, we didn't rebound. We'll continue to address that because that is unacceptable."
The Cajuns (5-2) trailed 6-4 at the 16:36 mark of the first half, but then went on a 25-2 run, holding McNeese without a field goal for nearly seven minutes. Marcus Stroman and Marquetti started the run with a pair of triples, Gant scored twice inside, Stroman hit another three before Washington hit a pair of field goals. After a pair of free throws made the sccore 23-8, Justin Miller hit a pair of buckets and Bartley made two free throws before Demarco Owens finally broke the draught with a layup at the 9:36 mark.
The lead was still at 16, 34-18 with 4:07 remaining after Stove hit a layup, but the Cowboys ended the half on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to eight points, 36-28 at halftime.
Marquetti hit three straight triples to start the second half to give the Cajuns a 45-28 lead two minutes into the second half and the lead remained around that margin for most of the second half and grew to 21 points, 81-59 with 3:56 to go. The Cowboys went on a 15-2 run to cut the lead to nine points with 1:15 to play but got no closer.
Point guard Marcus Stroman went down in the second half with what Marlin described as a hip pointer. "He's the straw that stirs the drink," Marlin said. Hopefully we'll have him back soon. His status is day-to-day.
The Cajuns are back in action Friday night at Nicholls State.