PENSACOLA, Fla. — The University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns had three players record double-doubles to spark a second-half comeback to take down South Alabama, 79-68, in the Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Ragin’ Cajuns started the game with the lead as Mylik Wilson drove in the lane and laid it up for two points. Louisiana would not have another lead until under 13 minutes to play in the second half.
South Alabama took control early as Tyreke Locure and Michael Flowers hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions.
A layup by Theo Akwuba cut it to 6-4 but the Jaguars responded with a layup by John Pettway. Akwuba would score on the next two possessions — cutting the lead back down to two each time — but the Ragin’ Cajuns could never overcome the deficit completely in the first half.
South Alabama would maintain the lead and build it up to 11 points following a Pettway fast-break layup.
Louisiana cut into that lead — all the way down to one point following a second-chance dunk by Akwuba — but South Alabama would enter halftime with a 33-29 lead.
The Jaguars pushed their lead up to nine after a Locure three-pointer with 16:09 in the second half. After Locure hit a free throw to make it 44-36 with 15:21 left, that’s when the Ragin’ Cajuns took over.
Louisiana went on a 26-4 run and took its first lead of the game since Wilson’s two-point layup. After a Cedric Russell pullup three tied the game, Devin Butts’ second-chance three-pointer gave the Cajuns a 49-46 lead.
With 7:04 remaining, Louisiana had pushed their lead to 16 after Kobe Julien made a layup off of a fast break.
South Alabama rallied and did so by the play of Kayo Goncalves. The Jaguar star drained a trio of three-pointers and then made three free throws after being fouled on another three-point attempt.
With 2:30 left in the game, the Ragin’ Cajuns lead had been cut to eight points. South Alabama then made it a six-point game after Flowers hit two free throws.
Louisiana responded as Akwuba threw down an alleyoop dunk which made it 72-64. From that point forward, South Alabama was unable to mount the comeback.
BIG NUMBER: 3
The Ragin’ Cajuns had three players record double-doubles in Saturday’s comeback victory. Theo Akwuba had 19 points and 14 rebounds, Mylik Wilson had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Duo Gueye scored 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as well.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Mylik Wilson & Theo Akwuba
Wilson, who came up with timely plays throughout the game, scored 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting with 10 rebounds and six assists. Akwuba had a stellar night as well as the Ragin’ Cajuns center scored a game-high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds.
UP NEXT: Louisiana moves on to the SBC Tournament semifinals on Sunday. The Ragin’ Cajuns will play the winner of the Arkansas State-Georgia State game. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m.