UL ATHLETICS – TiAndre Jackson-Young came off the bench to score 18 points to lead five players in double figures and UT Arlington used a 20-6 run midway through the second half to pull away and defeat an injury-riddled Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball team, 81-65, in a Sun Belt Conference game on Thursday at the Cajundome.
Already without the freshman duo of Kobe Julien and Javonne Lowery to season-ending knee injuries, point guard Trajan Wesley (concussion) and freshman Mylik Wilson (knee sprain), Louisiana (7-12, 2-6 Sun Belt) received a shot in the arm with the return of senior guard P.J. Hardy, who missed the past seven games with an ankle injury.
But, again, Louisiana was forced to dress nine players for the third straight game after junior forward Dou Gueye missed his first game of the season with the flu.
UTA (7-12, 3-5 Sun Belt), which won its first game in Lafayette since an 89-64 victory on Feb. 7, 2015, never trailed after David Azore’s 3-pointer with 18:16 remaining in the first half gave the Mavericks a 5-2 lead.
The Mavs stretched their lead to 26-16 on a bucket by Sam Griffin with 10:57 remaining and extended it to 42-29 on David Steelman’s 3-pointer at the 4:11 mark.
Louisiana closed the gap to 50-41 when freshman Calvin Temple’s 3-pointer beat the buzzer just before halftime, and 57-52 when Jalen Johnson sank a 3-pointer with 15:00 remaining.
But that would be as close as Louisiana would get the rest of the night as UTA scored the next 11 points, taking advantage of 11 straight misses from the floor by the Ragin’ Cajuns, who would go without a field goal for the next 7:18.
Griffin scored 14 points for UTA, which went 9-for-25 (36 percent) from behind the 3-point line after connecting on 28 percent in its first seven league games. Azores scored 12 points for the Mavs with Jordan Phillips and Jabari Narcis scoring 10 each.
Johnson scored a game-high 23 points to lead Louisiana, which went 8-for-29 (27.6 percent) from the floor in the second half and finished 21-for-59 (35.6 percent) for the game. Tirus Smith recorded his first career Division I double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds while Hardy scored 10 points and dished out a season-high five assists in a season-high 38 minutes of play.
Freshman Chris Spenkuch added a season-high eight points for the Ragin’ Cajuns while Cedric Russell, hobbled by an injured foot, was limited to 1-for-6 from the floor and finished with six points in 31 minutes.