The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team came into Thursday’s contest against the Georgia State Panthers looking to string together back-to-back victories. The Cajuns couldn’t get the ball in the hoop late and fell at home to the Panthers 68-64. Louisiana is now 9-9 overall and 4-4 in Sun Belt Conference play on the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
It was a rough start for the Ragin’ Cajuns as Georgia State went up 10-2 within the first five minutes. Kane Williams and Justin Roberts were major contributors with Williams scoring six and Roberts adding four points. Following turnovers by each team, Kentrell Garnett lit it up from range with back-to-back three pointers. Dou Gueye tied the game at 10 with a layup as Michael Thomas assisted on the play.
The Panthers would go up 18-15 but Louisiana cut it to within one with another Garnett three but Georgia State made it 23-19 after a quick pull-up three by Corey Allen with 8:33 left in the first half.
The Cajuns would get their first lead of the game off a Durey Caldwell three-pointer. Jalen Thomas would respond with a made basket from the right elbow, but Joe Charles got Louisiana their lead back with a three of his own. Following a few possessions that ended in free throw attempts for the Panthers, Caldwell’s three and Jordan Brown’s layup pushed Louisiana’s lead to four. Georgia State went into halftime with the one point lead as they scored the final five points of the half.
Allen started the second half picking up right where he left off as he was successful from deep, but Garnett responded with his fourth three of the game. Louisiana went on a cold streak the next three minutes and couldn’t buy a bucket. Brown’s layup at the 15:24 mark of the second half was the start of a quick 9-2 run and gave the Cajuns back their lead temporarily.
Both squads went blow for blow responding to one another’s baskets. Georgia State went up 57-52 after Jalen Thomas picked up the loose ball and slammed it home at the 8:56 point of the second half. Kobe Julien brought it back for Louisiana with a three, then Greg Williams Jr. gave them the lead with one of his own the next possession.
Both teams hit a drought as the Cajuns maintained a two-point lead the next two minutes. Georgia State’s Thomas tied the game back up, then gave the Panthers the lead with another made jumper with under two minutes to play. Louisiana had a chance to tie the game up after Akwuba cut the game to two with a made free throw, but Roberts stole the ball on the fast break and made both of his shots from the charity stripe as the Cajuns lost 68-64.
BIG NUMBER: 20
Louisiana committed 20 turnovers in Thursday night’s loss at home in the Cajundome. Georgia State scored 20 points off of those turnovers.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Justin Roberts
Justin Roberts had the best all-around game for the Panthers as he scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, had six assists and three steals in their 68-64 victory.
NEXT UP: Louisiana (9-9, 4-4 SBC) returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Georgia Southern. Tip off is set at 7:00 p.m.