(Sun Belt Conference)
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Themus Fulks scored a career-high 23 points and Jordan Brown added 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds to lead second-seeded Louisiana to the 2023 Hercules Tires Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship with a 71-66 victory against eighth-seeded South Alabama on Monday at the Pensacola Bay Center.
Brown was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the Hercules Tires Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship. Over his three games played in Pensacola this week, Brown averaged 15.7 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game. He came up in the clutch throughout the week for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Louisiana (26-7) earns the Sun Belt Conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. For the Ragin’ Cajuns, it marks their fifth all-time Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and first since 2014. Louisiana played in the finals of the Sun Belt Tournament for the second consecutive season.
“What a basketball game,” Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said. “It’s what conference tournaments are all about. You could tell it was going to come down to a one- or two-possession game. I’m just super proud of our guys. I’m so happy for them. They played a great second half.”
Fulks made a trio of three-pointers in the game and was 9-of-13 from the field to achieve 23 points as one of four Louisiana players in double-figure scoring. Thirteen of Fulks’ 23 points came in the second half. Jalen Dalcourt also made three treys and finished with 13 points, while Terence Lewis II scored 12.
As a team, Louisiana shot 49.1 percent (27-of-55) from the field, while South Alabama shot 48.9 percent (23-of-47). The Ragin’ Cajuns made eight threes in the game, while the Jaguars were limited to just 3-of-11 from long range.
The two teams battled for the entire game with South Alabama leading for 24:40 and Louisiana leading for only 13:53. The Jaguars held a 37-33 advantage at intermission. There were two ties and five lead changes.
Louisiana led 65-64 with 26 seconds remaining when Dalcourt made a jumper in the paint to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a three-point advantage. South Alabama cut within one after a pair of free throws from Isaiah Moore with 17 ticks on the clock. South Alabama fouled Terence Lewis II with 13 seconds left and he made both free throws. Kentrell Garnett iced the game with two free throws to make the five-point final margin.
South Alabama (19-16) was led by a game-high and season-high 33 points from Isaiah Moore. Moore averaged 22.7 points per game in his four-game stretch in Pensacola. Kevin Samuel contributed 12 points, while Tyrell Jones brought down a team-high 10 rebounds.
2023 Hercules Tires Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team
Most Outstanding Player: Jordan Brown, Louisiana
Terence Lewis II, Louisiana
Isaiah Moore, South Alabama
Owen White, South Alabama
Terrence Edwards, James Madison
Mason Harrell, Texas State