Louisiana Basketball earns 8th seed in SBC Tournament with 108-101 win over Coastal Carolina

Cajun Nation

(UL Athletics) – Cedric Russell and P.J. Hardy combined for 52 points and eight of a school-record tying 16 3-pointers, and Louisiana rallied from a 16-point, first-half to defeat Coastal Carolina, 108-101, in the Sun Belt Conference regular-season finale for both teams on Tuesday at the Cajundome.

The win by Louisiana (13-18, 8-12 Sun Belt) secured the No. 8 seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championships that will begin on Saturday at a pair of campus sites.

The Ragin’ Cajuns will host No. 9-seeded Arkansas State, a 76-75 winner at Georgia Southern, in a first round game on Saturday at 11 a.m. Coastal Carolina (15-16, 8-12 Sun Belt) will face No. 7-seeded UT Arlington on Saturday.

Russell scored a game-high 28 points for Louisiana while Hardy, one of two seniors playing in their final regular-season game at the Cajundome, scored 16 of his career-high tying 24 points in the second half.

Six different players made 3-pointers for Louisiana, which went 16-for-35 from behind the arc and tied the single-game, school-record for that was set previously in games against Centenary in 2014 and Savannah State in 2017.  

Coastal Carolina, which went 12-for-23 from behind the 3-point line, opened the game on a 7-0 run that started with back-to-back 3-pointers by Malik LaGrania and Garrick Green. The Chanticleers took a 12-3 lead on a bucket by Tommy Burton with 16:52 remaining in the first half and led 20-6 after Tim Ceaser drained a 3-pointer at the 14:55 mark.

The Ragin’ Cajuns chipped away at the lead, getting as close as 33-29 on a 3-pointer by Kristian Lafayette with 5:23 remaining before a 16-4 run by CCU would extend the cushion to 49-33 in the final minute of the half.

Russell, who finished 8-for-20 from the floor and 9-for-10 from the free throw line, closed out the half for Louisiana with a three-point play and a 3-pointer that got the Ragin’ Cajuns to within 49-39 at the break.

After that, Louisiana stepped on the gas on both ends of the floor.

The Ragin’ Cajuns trailed 63-56 on Isaac Hippolyte’s 3-pointer at the 15:23 mark of the second half before going on a 9-0 run to take their first lead of the game.

A steal and dunk by Mylik Wilson, who came off the bench to score 10 points with a career-high eight assists and five steals, started the rally for Louisiana before a 3-pointer by Russell and a pair of free throws by Jalen Johnson tied the game at 63-all.

The Ragin’ Cajuns would take a 65-63 lead – their first of the game – on a steal and layup by Dou Gueye with 13:01 remaining before Hardy would eventually put Louisiana ahead for good, 69-66, on a 3-pointer from the right corner.

Trajan Wesley answered a CCU bucket by Burton on the following trip with a 3-pointer from the right corner before Lafayette would later bury his second 3-pointer of the night for a 77-70 lead with 9:29 left.

Coastal got as close as 83-78 on a basket by Hosana Kitenge with 6:45 left, but Louisiana would eventually take its biggest lead of the night, 94-82, on a layup by Gueye with 3:54 remaining.

Johnson scored 19 points and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line for Louisiana, which finished 33-for-66 from the floor and 26-for-32 from the charity stripe. Gueye recorded his first double-double for Louisiana, scoring 11 of his 12 points and grabbing eight of his game-high 11 rebounds in the second half.

Louisiana recorded a season-high 22 assists and forced 15 turnovers. The 108 points scored by Louisiana was the third-highest in a Sun Belt Conference game for the Ragin’ Cajuns. The 16-point comeback for Louisiana was its seventh win of the year when trailing by double-digits and was the second-largest in the Bob Marlin era.

Malik LeGania scored a career-high 24 points to lead Coastal Carolina with Burton posting a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Garrick Green added 17 points for the Chanticleers while DeVante Jones added 12 and Tyrell Gumbs-Frater 11.  

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