Louisiana gets the sweep holding off A-State, 77-74

Cajun Nation

(UL ATHLETICS PRESS RELEASE) – A pair of newcomers helped make the difference for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball team as Jacobi Gordon scored 11 of his career-high 14 points in the first half with freshman Ty Harper adding a career-best 11, including three free throws in the final 15 seconds in a 77-74 victory over Arkansas State in the finale of a two-game Sun Belt Conference series at the Cajundome.
 
Cedric Russell scored 14 points as Louisiana (11-4, 5-3 Sun Belt) won its third straight game and defeated Arkansas State (5-8, 2-4 Sun Belt) for the 14th time in the last 16 meetings in Lafayette dating back to the 2007-08 season.
 
Louisiana never trailed in the contest, scoring the game’s first seven points while posting season-highs for 3-pointers made (11) and 3-point field goal percentage (.688). The Ragin’ Cajuns led 36-17 on a bucket by Mylik Wilson with 5:28 remaining in the first half before the Red Wolves closed to within 41-29 at the break.
 
The Ragin’ Cajuns opened the second half with a 14-6 run to take their biggest lead of the game – 55-35 – on a basket by Dou Gueye with 15:04 remaining before Arkansas State mounted a comeback.
 
A bucket by Tim Holland, Jr., followed by a pair of buckets by Norchad Omier and a 3-pointer by Christian Willis over a 2:29-period turned a 73-61 Louisiana lead into a 73-70 contest with 2:24 remaining.
 
Louisiana made it a two-possession game after Theo Akwuba made the first of two free throws with 1:26 remaining before Marquis Eaton responded with a pair of free throws getting Arkansas State to within 74-72 with 1:15 left.
 
Harper added a pair of free throws with 14.5 seconds for a 76-72 lead, and after Malcolm Farrington scored with 3.6 seconds left, the freshman made the second of two free throws to seal the win.
 
Louisiana went 7-for-11 from behind the 3-point line in the opening half as Gordon went 3-for-3 from long range. The Cal transfer, who went 5-for-5 from the floor with four 3-pointers, scored five straight points early in the first half for Louisiana with a 3-pointer and a jumper in the lane before adding a pair of 3-pointers that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 20-8 lead with 13:01 left.
 
Russell added a pair of 3-pointers in the first half before adding a pair in the second to increase his career total to 229 and moving past Randell Daigle (227, 2007-11) for third in school history. The senior guard finished 5-for-10 from the floor and 4-for-6 from behind the arc as Louisiana finished 29-for-56 for the game (51.8 percent) and 11-for-16 from long distance.
 
Akwuba scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Louisiana before fouling out with 1:15 remaining. Wilson added 12 points, five assists and three steals for the Ragin’ Cajuns while Harper went 3-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-2 from behind the arc.
 
Omier and Willis scored 15 points each to lead Arkansas State with Eaton and Farrington adding 10 each. Omier grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for the Red Wolves, who held a 36-32 advantage on the glass and went 5-for-7 from behind the 3-point line in the second half after going 0-for-3 before halftime.
 
Louisiana will now play its next four games on the road beginning on Jan. 29-30 in a two-game rematch at Texas State. Both games are scheduled for a 4 p.m. start with both games available on ESPN+ and KPEL 96.5 FM. After facing Texas State, Louisiana will travel to face Arkansas State in a two-game series on Feb. 5-6 before returning home to host in-state foe ULM at the Cajundome on Feb. 11.

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