CONWAY, S.C. – Antonio Daye hit the second of two free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining and Coastal Carolina rallied from a 10-point deficit to edge the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, 77-76, in the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball opener for both teams on Thursday at the HTC Center. 

Jomaru Brown scored a game-high 28 points off the bench to lead CCU (7-5, 1-0 Sun Belt), which built a 12-point lead in the first half before trailing by double digits when Terence Lewis II’s three-point play with 4:40 left gave Louisiana (10-3, 0-1 Sun Belt) a 69-59 lead with 4:40 left. 

Louisiana held a 73-68 lead on Kobe Julien’s baseline jumper with 2:30 left and 74-70 on Jordan Brown’s free throw at the 1:49-mark before the Chanticleers cut the lead on Jimmy Nichols’ three-point play. 

Brown, who led Louisiana with 25 points, made a pair of free throws to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 76-73 lead with 1:08 remaining before Daye tied it on CCU’s next possession with a long 3-pointer. 

After a miss by Themus Fulks, Daye was fouled and made the second free throw to give CCU the lead. Fulks’ final attempt just before the buzzer was deflected by Wilfried Likayi. 

Louisiana trailed 36-25 with 2:40 remaining in the first half before using a 25-6 run to take a 50-42 lead. Lewis, who posted his fifth double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds, gave the Ragin’ Cajuns their first lead of the game – 43-41 – on a bucket with 17:04 left before a pair of baskets by Brown and a 3-pointer by Kentrell Garnett extended the lead. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns added a 15-6 run beginning with a pair of free throws by Brown with 8:29 remaining and was aided by 3-pointers by Jalen Dalcourt and Julien before being capped by Lewis’ three-point play. 

Greg Williams, Jr., scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds for Louisiana while Fulks scored nine points with nine assists. Julien, who missed the first 12 games of the season rehabbing from a knee injury, scored seven points and grabbed three boards in his 2022-23 debut for Louisiana, which held a 37-26 advantage on the glass and a 30-8 advantage in second-chance points. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns finished 30-for-72 (41.7 percent) from the floor but was 5-for-22 (22.7 percent) from behind the 3-point line. Coastal Carolina, which got 43 points from its bench, shot 47 percent (25-for-53) from the floor and was 8-for-21 from behind the 3-point line. 

Louisiana will close out its opening weekend of SBC play when it travels to Norfolk, Va., to face Old Dominion (8-5, 0-1 Sun Belt) in a New Year’s Eve matinee. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN+.