EUNICE — The LSU Eunice men’s basketball team shook off early rust to open up conference play with a victory Thursday night.
LSUE entered the LCCAC opener against Delgado Community College having not played a game in nearly three weeks. The Bengals had multiple opponents cancel games due to COVID-19 protocols and that layoff showed up early on in Thursday’s 81-72 victory.
LSUE (3-0, 1-0 LCCAC) came out sluggish as early on they trailed Delgado CC 24-15. The Bengals defense would give them a spark as they forced four consecutive turnovers with former St. Thomas More star Jonathan Cisse scoring eight of LSUE’s 10 points in that span, including draining two three-pointers.
For the game, LSUE would score 24 points off of 19 turnovers.
After trailing by two points at halftime, LSUE went on a 13-2 run midway through the second half helped turn a deficit into a six-point lead. The Bengals would extend that lead to 18 before holding on for the nine-point victory.
Former Pine Prairie star Isiah Payne scored a game-high and career best 26 points while adding eight rebounds and three steals. Cisse meanwhile added 22 points with six assists.
The LSUE women also won on Thursday with a 80-63 victory over Delgado CC.
LSUE (6-2, 1-0 LCCAC) set the tone early with an 10-0 lead to start the game. The Bengals shot 34.5 percent from three-point range, including three from freshman point guard Brooklyn Fontenot, who led LSUE with 14 points.
LSUE also scored 40 points in the paint, and outrebounded visiting Delgado CC 57-49.
LSUE freshman forward Tahjea Smith recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Chelsey White added 12 points and six rebounds.
At the break, LSUE led 44-28 and pushed it to 20 points in the third quarter. Delgado CC did cut the lead down to 12 in the second half but LSUE pulled away for the 17-point victory.
With the win, LSUE extended its winning streak in LCCAC play to 29 contests.
The LSUE men and women’s teams were scheduled to play Saturday at home against Southern-Shreveport. Those games have been postponed due to poor weather conditions in the Shreveport area.
LSUE will return to action on Wednesday at Baton Rouge Community College.