Elfrid Payton, who averaged 27.0 points in two games last week, including a career-high 31 points against WKU, has been named the Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week. The league office made the announcement on Monday.
This is the first time that Payton has received the honor in his career. He joins teammate Shawn Long as the Cajuns to earn the honor this year.
"This is a well-deserved honor for Elfrid," Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said. "He has been the leader of this team on the court all season long and the development that he has shown is remarkable. It is hard to believe that he is only a sophomore because he plays like a senior."
Payton, who celebrated his 19th birthday last Friday, did so in fine fashion. He averaged 27.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals in the two games, shooting .615 from the field (16-26) and .786 from the line (22-28).
On the day before his birthday, Payton scored a game-high 23 points, going 7-13 from the field with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in a 76-66 win over Troy. He was seven-for-13 from the field and nine-for-nine from the foul line.
On Saturday, Payton's 31 points against WKU were the most points by a Cajun since David Dees had 36 points vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 24, 2007.
Payton went nine-for-13 from the field and 13-for-19 from the foul line. The 19 attempts fell one short of the school record 20 by Dean Church vs. Northwestern State (2/26/65) and Larry Simon vs. Nicholls State (2/23/62).
The 19 attempts were also the most ever by a Cajuns player in a Sun Belt game, topping the old mark of 18 by Anthony Johnson at New Orleans (1/11/03) and by Lonnie Thomas vs. UNO (2/5/00).
Payton and the Cajuns head to Little Rock, Ark. for a meeting with UALR on Thursday (Feb. 28).
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