Little Rock rallies to earn overtime win over UL, 78-76

Cajun Nation

(UL ATHLETICS PRESS RELEASE) – Markquis Nowell scored eight of Little Rock’s final 13 points, converting on a game-tying, three-point play late in regulation before following with a 3-pointer in the final minute of overtime to lift Little Rock to a 78-76 win over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in the finale of a two-game Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball series at the Cajundome.
 
Theo Akwuba and Cedric Russell each scored 17 points for Louisiana (8-3, 2-2 Sun Belt), which placed five players in double figures and played its second overtime contest in the past eight days. Brayan Au scored 11 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Dou Gueye and Mylik Wilson adding 10 each.
 
Louisiana led 42-32 at halftime before Little Rock (7-4, 3-1 Sun Belt) chipped away at the lead, eventually taking a 49-48 lead on Ben Coupet’s bucket in the lane with 14:08 remaining. From there, neither team led by more than three points for the remainder of regulation as Louisiana held on to a 68-65 lead on Wilson’s jumper with 1:42 left.
 
Nowell, who finished with 15 points on 5 of 15 shooting, grabbed a contested jumper by Wilson in the final minute of regulation and converted a three-point play with 42.6 seconds remaining to tie the game at 68-68. Nowell then knocked away a ball from Russell on the Ragin’ Cajuns next possession and eventually missed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
 
Louisiana took a 71-70 lead with 3:32 left in overtime on a pair of Wilson free throws before Nikola Maric gave the Trojans the lead for good (73-71) with a three-point play with 3:17 left.
 
After Little Rock pushed its lead to 75-71 on two free throws by Ruot Monyyong with 1:41 left, Russell buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the deficit to 75-74 with 1:18 remaining.
 
Nowell then followed with a 3-pointer – only the second of the day in 16 attempts – with under a minute remaining for a 78-74 lead.
 
Monyyong posted a double-double for Little Rock with 19 points and 16 rebounds with Isaiah Palermo adding 17 points and Maric 12. The Trojans finished 27-for-63 (42.9 percent) from the floor and were 22-for-30 (73.3 percent) from the free throw line compared to a 10-for-12 performance at the line by Louisiana.
 
Akwuba pulled down 10 rebounds and added five blocks to lead Louisiana with Russell (4-for-7) and Au (3-for-4) going a combined 7-for-11 from behind the 3-point line. The Ragin’ Cajuns finished 29-for-62 (46.8 percent) from the floor and were 8-for-19 (42.1 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
 
Louisiana will return to action beginning Friday (Jan. 15-16) when it travels to Arlington, Texas to face UT Arlington in a two-game series at College Park Center. Friday’s opener – the first of six games on the road in an eight-game span – will begin at 6 p.m. with the finale scheduled for Saturday at 4.

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