TOLEDO, Ohio. – Themus Fulks continued his scoring barrage to start the season with a career-high 25 points Saturday night at Toledo. The junior was 10-of-13 from the field, both career bests, to go along with 5 assists. It wasn’t enough for the Ragin’ Cajuns as the Rockets caught fire down the stretch to hold off the Cajuns, 87-78, in the opening half of the MAC-SBC Challenge.
All five starters finished in double figures for the Cajuns. Kentrell Garnett ended the night with 14 points with 5 assists. Joe Charles recorded his second double-double of the season in as many games with an 11-point, 10-rebound performance. Kobe Julien had 12 points and Hosana Kitenge added 10 points while each pulled down 5 rebounds in the effort.
Both teams came out of the gates on even terms before the Cajuns gained momentum first. Fulks sparked a run with a layup followed by another layup from Kitenge and capped by a Julien three-pointer for an 11-5 lead. Back-to-back buckets by the Rockets cut the lead to one but Charles answered with a three to keep the lead at two possessions.
After trading points, the Rockets jumped back ahead after a 7-0 run. That lead lasted 20 seconds before Julien knocked down another three to retake the lead. The sides traded shots until the nine-minute mark when the Cajuns got a bucket from Charles and a three from Garnett to go back up by six. Kitenge extended the lead to eight with 5:13 in the half with a steal and layup on the fastbreak. In the closing minutes of the half, Garnett and Fulks connected on back-to-back threes to put the Cajuns up by 13. Moments later a basket by the Rockets sent the teams into the locker room with the Cajuns ahead 45-34.
The Cajuns continued to push the pace, and Blake Butler’s putback gave them a 16-point lead. The Rockets answered with an 11-0 run before Garnett hit a pair of threes to keep the Cajuns ahead by eight. The Rocket offense was in the zone in the second half, shooting 63.3 percent from the field and hit 16-of-19 shots down the stretch.
The Cajuns return to the Cajundome next Wednesday, November 15, to take on Louisiana Christian. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. with coverage on ESPN+ or listen live KPEL 96.5 FM.