LAFAYETTE – Greg Williams, Jr., and Jordan Brown combined for 41 points and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball team rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit to claim a thrilling 94-87 Sun Belt Conference victory over Georgia Southern on Saturday at the Cajundome.
Williams scored a game-high 21 points while Brown added 20 in his return to the lineup as Louisiana (18-4, 8-2 Sun Belt) outscored Georgia Southern (12-11, 5-5 Sun Belt), 64-38, in the second half.
Terence Lewis II posted his seventh double-double of the season for Louisiana with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Kentrell Garnett scored all 12 of his points in the second half while Themus Fulks scored 10 of his 11 points in the second half.
Georgia Southern made 14 of its final 16 shots in the first half and was a blistering 20-for-29 (69 percent) from the floor to lead 49-30 at halftime. The Eagles, who were 6 of 9 from long distance in the opening half, used a 14-0 run with Tyren Moore and Jalen Finch combining for three 3-pointers during the spurt.
But the second half would be all Louisiana.
A pair of free throws by Lewis and consecutive 3-pointers by Garnett fueled an early 8-0 run for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who began to whittle away at the Georgia Southern lead.
Garnett added a three-point play as part of an 11-0 run for Louisiana to get the deficit to single digits with 12:48 remaining before Joe Charles scored seven straight points, capped by his 3-pointer from the right corner to tie the game at 62-62.
After an Eagle miss, Brown gave Louisiana a 64-62 lead – its first since the 16:15 mark of the first half – before adding a pair of free throws with 8:19 left to give the Ragin’ Cajuns the lead for good, 66-64.
Williams, who posted his third consecutive 20-point game, pushed Louisiana’s lead to 79-71 with a driving layup with 5:04 left and the Eagles would get as close as 82-79 on a pair of free throws by Kaden Archie with 2:15 remaining.
The win was the 239th for head coach Bob Marlin in his Louisiana career, passing J.C. “Dutch” Reinhardt (1932-57) for second on the school’s all-time list. The 19-point deficit was the largest overcome by Louisiana in the Marlin era while the Ragin’ Cajuns won their 10th straight game at home dating back to last season.
Louisiana finished 27-for-65 (42 percent) from the floor in the game and was 9-for-25 (36 percent) from behind the 3-point line. The Ragin’ Cajuns were 31-for-40 (78 percent) from the free throw line, including 25 of 29 (86 percent) in the second half.
Fulks, who finished with six assists and no turnovers in 31 minutes, was 9-for-10 from the line for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Lewis finishing 8-for-10. The Ragin’ Cajuns forced nine turnovers, including seven in the final 20 minutes, while committing one of their season-low six turnovers after intermission.
Archie and Moore scored 16 points each to lead six players in double figures for Georgia Southern. Finch added 15 points for the Eagles with Kamari Brown adding 14, Carlos Curry 12 and Derrick Harris, Jr., 10.
The Eagles finished 7-for-19 (37 percent) from the floor in the second half and were 2 of 5 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will wrap up its four-game homestand beginning on Thursday against Texas State at 7 p.m. before facing Marshall for Senior Night on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.