JONESBORO, Ark. – Jordan Brown and Themus Fulks each posted double-doubles and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns opened the game with a 19-6 run and never trailed in defeating Arkansas State, 80-71, in a Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball game on Thursday at First National Bank Arena.
Louisiana (15-4, 5-2 Sun Belt), playing its 12th of 19 games away from home, won its fifth straight game to remain in a tie for first place with Marshall, Southern Miss and ULM in the SBC standings. The win for the Ragin’ Cajuns also snapped a four-game losing streak to Arkansas State (9-11, 1-6 Sun Belt) in games played in Jonesboro as Louisiana claimed its first win on the FNB Arena floor since a 90-87 overtime decision on March 9, 2019.
Brown, who recorded his third, 30-point game of his career and matched his career-high against an SBC opponent, scored 31 points on 12 of 20 aim from the floor while grabbing a season-high tying 13 rebounds.
The forward scored six points of his 20 first-half points during Louisiana’s opening run which was capped by a fastbreak dunk for a 19-6 lead with 14:51 remaining in the first half.
Fulks, the SBC leader in assists, scored 13 points, dished out 11 assists and grabbed six rebounds as Louisiana finished 29-for-56 (51.8 percent) from the floor and eclipsing the 50-percent mark in a game for the 10th time in the 2022-23 season.
Both teams traded buckets in the opening minute before Louisiana scored eight straight points in a 13-2 run to take the lead for good.
Greg Williams, Jr., opened the spurt with a 3-pointer before Fulks added a layup and Kentrell Garnett hit the first of four 3-pointers on the night to give Louisiana a 10-2 lead. After a pair of ASU free throws, Brown sank a pair of free throws before Garnett would drill a 3-pointer – the 100th of his career to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 15-4 lead at the 15:48 mark.
Arkansas State would chip away at the lead, getting as close as 29-24 on Malcolm Farrington’s 3-pointer with 8:24 left in the first half, but Williams would start a 10-3 run for Louisiana with a three-point play that would help push the lead up to 39-27.
The Ragin’ Cajuns would answer an early second-half barrage after back-to-back 3-pointers by Terrance Ford, Jr., close Arkansas State to within 43-38 with 18:40 remaining as Brown’s three-point play opened a 14-2 run and give Louisiana a 57-40 lead.
Garnett finished with 12 points, all from behind the 3-point line, as Louisiana was 8-for-15 from behind the 3-point line. Williams chipped in with nine points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Terence Lewis II adding eight points and six rebounds.
Ford led A-State with 14 points with Farrington and Caleb Fields scoring 13 points each. Omar El-Sheikh scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Red Wolves, who were 24-for-57 from the floor but was aided by a season-high 11 3-pointers.
Louisiana will cap its four-game road trip – and stretch of eight games on the road in a 10-game span – on Saturday when it visits Texas State in a 4 p.m. contest in San Marcos, Texas. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and can be heard on KPEL-FM (96.5) and on the Varsity Network app.