With leading scorer Jordan Brown sidelined with an injury, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns were able to overcome the star power forward being on the bench inside the Cajundome Thursday night. Louisiana defeated visiting Arkansas State Red Wolves 83-77 in overtime to improve to 3-0 in Sun Belt Conference play.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Arkansas State held an early three-point lead after a Norchard Omier layup. Louisiana responded as Kobe Julien made a fast break layup and a three-pointer to spark a 10-3 run.
With 11:32 left in the first half, the Ragin’ Cajuns held a 15-11 advantage.
Arkansas State would cut the lead down to two points three times in the next eight minutes but Louisiana managed to push the lead up to 10 points after a Duo Gueye layup with 2:50 left in the half.
Arkansas State would close out the final two and half minutes on a 9-4 run and cut Louisiana’s lead down to five points at the break.
The Ragin’ Cajuns shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half.
Arkansas State started the second half by chipping away at Louisiana’s lead. The Red Wolves got it down to two points after a layup by Omier.
The Ragin’ Cajuns quickly pushed it back up to seven points after a Kentrell Garnett three-pointer. The Red Wolves once again rallied and after Omier made a pair of free throws, Arkansas State trailed by only one point with 9:49 left in the second.
Louisiana responded as Julien and Greg Williams Jr. drained back-to-back three-pointers and then Theo Akuwba made a second-chance layup.
With 3:40 left, Arkansas State tied the game with a Markise Davis three-pointer.
After a free throw by Julien, Arkansas State then took the lead with alleyoop dunk by Omier. Louisiana answered with Trajan Wesley scoring a layup and then adding a driving layup, in which he drew the foul. Wesley made the free throw and gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 72-68 lead with 1:25 left in the contest.
Omier made a jumper to cut it down to two points. After a Julien free throw made it a three-point game again, Arkansas State forced overtime as Caleb Fields hit an off-balanced three-pointer.
Louisiana took an early lead in overtime as Awkuba hit a layup and then made a turnaround jumper. The Ragin’ Cajuns never allowed the Red Wolves in the game in the overtime period as Louisiana sealed the win.
BIG NUMBER: 2
The Ragin’ Cajuns had two players record double-doubles in Thursday night’s win. Theo Akwuba had 16 points and 15 rebounds while Dou Gueye chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: KOBE JULIEN & THEO AKWUBA
Julien led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while Akwuba scored 16 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and had 3 blocks.
UP NEXT: Louisiana (8-5, 3-0 SBC) will host Little Rock on Saturday. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at the Cajundome.