How It Happened:
P.J. Hardy opened up the scoring for the Ragin’ Cajuns with a corner 3-pointer.
Arkansas State took an early 7-5 lead with 15:44 left in the first half. The Ragin’ Cajuns missed four straight field goals as the Red Wolves went on the 7-2 run.
UL responded out of the timeout with a 7-0 burst. However, both teams were locked at 12 with 11:19 left in the first half.
It was another scoring drought for the Ragin’ Cajuns in the first half. They went 5:08 without a point and the Red Wolves broke the tie with a 6-0 run. UL’s scoring drought ended after a made free throw by Jalen Johnson.
Arkansas State increased their lead to 10. They led 25-13 with 7:35 remaining in opening half courtesy of an 18-1 run.
UL started to cut into a 14-point deficit in the closing minutes of the first half. The Ragin’ Cajuns trailed 31-23 with 2:20 left. Arkansas State brought the lead back up to 14 before Johnson made a floater to end the half. The Red Wolves led 37-25 entering the halftime break.
The Ragin’ Cajuns struggled from the field, shooting 9-of-35 overall and 3-of-17 from the 3-point line.
UL started off the second half outscoring Arkansas State 15-7 as they only trailed the Red Wolves 44-40 with 15:07 left in the game. Cedric Russell scored eight of the team’s first 15 points in the second half.
The strong start continued. The Ragin’ Cajuns still trailed 50-46 with 11:51 remaining, but they had already matched the field goals made from the first half at nine made field goals.
Kristian Lafayette tied the game at 50 with 10:29 left and Russell gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 52-50 lead. UL built on their momentum with an alley-oop connection from Russell to Wilson to increase their lead to four points.
With five minutes left in the game, Hardy gave UL a 7-point lead. The Ragin’ Cajuns led Arkansas State 61-54.
The Red Wolves converted on an and-one opportunity to cut the UL lead to 61-57 with 4:45 remaining.
Arkansas State kept it within striking distance. They hit four consecutive field goals and turned a 7-point deficit to just two points. The Ragin’ Cajuns held onto a 67-65 lead with 2:34 left.
Hardy was then fouled on a 3-point attempt. He managed to hit only 1-of-3 in his trip to the free throw line.
The Red Wolves took the lead back. They led 71-70 with 50.8 seconds left after a jumper from Marquis Eaton.
With 41 seconds left, Russell hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give UL a 73-71 lead. Arkansas State’s Caleb Field went 1-of-2 from the free throw line as the Red Wolves found themselves trailing 73-72 with 31.3 seconds to go.
Eaton missed the potential game-tying 3-pointer and the Ragin’ Cajuns improved to 12-17 for the season and 7-11 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Big Number: 52
After scoring just 25 points in the first 20 minutes, the Ragin’ Cajuns picked it up offensively and scored 52 points in the second half to complete the comeback win.
Player of the Game: Cedric Russell
Russell had just three points going into the halftime break but he finished with a team-high 22 points. He also hit the game-sealing 3-pointer from the top of the key late in the win.
Up Next: On the road vs. Little Rock, Saturday Feb. 29; Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.