The Louisiana basketball team opened their 2019-20 regular season with plenty of new faces and an opportunity to continue their recent success.
The season started in style with a 95-67 win over Loyola-New Orleans, head coach Bob Marlin’s 400th career victory.
There are a lot of new names for Louisiana basketball fans to begin learning. In their first game against the Wolfpack, three of the five Louisiana starters played their first minutes in a Ragin’ Cajuns uniform.
One of the new faces on the Ragin’ Cajuns basketball team, Jalen Johnson, a transfer from Saint Louis University, led the team in scoring with 22 points on 7-12 shooting. The forward added to his efficient debut with a block, a steal and nine rebounds in 28 minutes.
The other two new additions to the starting lineup, freshman forward Kobe Julien and junior transfer Dou Gueye, were right behind Johnson with impressive stat lines as well. Julien had 15 points on 6-12 shooting and added a steal and six rebounds while Gueye added 15 on 6-10 shooting with nine rebounds and a block.
The Ragin’ Cajuns and Wolfpack battled early, but a big 12-0 run at the end of the half gave Louisiana a nice 44-30 cushion at halftime. Eventually, halfway through the second half, the Ragin’ Cajuns opened up a 20-point lead and pulled away late in the game to secure the first victory of the 2019-20 season.
Their next matchup at home was against the McNeese State Cowboys.
This time around, the Louisiana offense started off cold. In the first nine minutes of game time, the Cowboys opened up a 14-4 lead, but Louisiana fought back.
McNeese controlled most of the first half, but a late 11-2 run by Louisiana brought it to a 33-32 game at halftime, giving them a chance in the second half.
This time, the Cowboys offense started the half cold shooting from the field. The Ragin’ Cajuns stormed to take a 56-42 lead nearly halfway into the second half, but it was not an easy closeout.
Louisiana held a healthy lead for most of the second half, but with 39 seconds left, the Cowboys cut the lead to three points at 79-76, and even down to one point at 80-79 with 29 seconds left.
The teams traded a couple of missed free throws, but Johnson’s two clutch free throws stretched the lead to 83-80, and a missed game-tying three pointer by McNeese sealed the Ragin’ Cajuns second victory of the season.
The 85-80 win was lead by a familiar face for Ragin’ Cajuns basketball fans. Junior guard Cedric Russell scored 22 points on 8-17, shooting with four assists and five rebounds.
Johnson was great on both sides for Louisiana against the Cowboys, scoring 21 points, blocking five shots and recording three steals.
The 2019-20 Louisiana basketball season is off to an exciting 2-0 start, and they play two games next week, one on the road against TCU and one at home against Youngstown State.