Cajuns rally late to beat Georgia State, 80-78

Cajun Nation

(UL ATHLETICS) – Freshman Mylik Wilson scored on a driving layup with 2.1 seconds remaining and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat Georgia State, 80-78, in a Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball game on Thursday at the Cajundome.

Cedric Russell scored 17 points and sank a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute as Louisiana (10-14, 6-8 Sun Belt) recorded its fifth win during the 2019-20 season when trailing by double digits. Jalen Johnson recorded a double-double for the Ragin’ Cajuns, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while P.J. Hardy scored 13 points.

Louisiana, which dropped a 90-52 decision to Georgia State (15-9, 8-5 Sun Belt) last month, came out on fire as it built a 15-point lead in the first half and led, 43-37, at the break. The Ragin’ Cajuns used a 19-5 run with Wilson scoring seven of his 16 points during the spurt.

Georgia State opened the second half on a 20-4 run as Louisiana missed its first 10 shots from the field. The Panthers took their first lead of the second half when Kane Williams scored on back-to-back layups for a 44-43 lead before a bucket by Josh Linder would eventually give GSU a 57-47 lead with 11:24 remaining.

Two free throws by freshman Jalen Thomas would give GSU its biggest lead of the game – 62-49 – with 9:30 left before Louisiana began to chip away at the lead.

Linder, who scored six points, scored on a dunk with 4:56 remaining for a 70-61 lead, but the Panthers would miss their final four shots from the floor while Louisiana made four of its final five attempts.

An offensive rebound and putback by Johnson with 3:31 left would start a 7-0 run for Louisiana, which cut the GSU lead to 72-70 after a pair of free throws by Dou Gueye. A pair of free throws by Thomas and Williams sandwiched a bucket by Gueye with 1:40 left and the Panthers held a 76-72 lead with 1:15 remaining.

But Russell, who went 4-for-11 from the floor, sank a 3-pointer that cut the Panther lead to 76-75 with 1:05 left before giving the Ragin’ Cajuns the lead with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 25.9 seconds left.

Williams, who went 9-for-10 from the free throw line in scoring 17 points, tied the game at 78-78 with 15.4 seconds left before Wilson provided his heroics for Louisiana on the ensuing possession.

Louisiana, which went 27-for-63 from the floor and was 7-for-27 from behind the arc, finished 19-for-20 from the free throw line while forcing 15 turnovers. Russell and Tirus Smith had three assists each for Louisiana while Wilson had four steals.

Justin Roberts added 17 points for GSU, which dropped its second straight game overall and second straight at the Cajundome. Thomas came off the bench to add 14 points for the Panthers while Corey Allen, the Sun Belt’s seventh-leading scorer entering the game (15.3), was held to eight points on 4 of 12 shooting.

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