After having a week-long break from playing, the Ragin’ Cajuns picked up where they left off as they played the South Alabama Jaguars as the second seed in the Men’s Sun Belt Tournament. The Jaguars, having won against ULM (80-72) just the day before, played a great first quarter, but ultimately lost to the Cajuns 79-68.
Louisiana had beaten the Jaguars before in the regular season 79-68. The game was held at Pensacola State College (formerly Pensacola Junior College), where Cajun head Coach, Bob Marlin, began his coaching career for five straight seasons and even won a state championship.
Despite the Cajuns lacking in defense in the first half, Theo Akwuba and Mylik Wilson showed no signs of absence as they dominated the first quarter and continued the rest of the game. Wilson got the team on the board and followed with a steal for an assist to Akwuba.
With Akwuba and Wilson showing their presence, star players Michael Flowers and John Pettway do the same for the Jaguars. Flowers had 15 points and Pettway had 12 as they found a rhythm working together to get the lead to 26-15. Having five turnovers and letting the score slip away, Louisiana changed their man-to-man defense to zone after a timeout in hopes to catch up.
The Ragin’ Cajuns shook off the rust as Devin Butts put up a three-pointer followed up by two layups from Wilson and Kobe Julien making it a five-point ball game (26-21). Cajuns continued with another layup and Akwuba exploded to the rim for another dunk that fired up the limited crowd. Akwuba scored the rest of the quarter ending the first half 33-29.
Wilson and Akwuba had no problem picking up the slack as leading scorer Cedric Russel had yet to make the scoreboard. The duo had a combined 19 points in the first quarter alone and would both continue on with a double-double. The Cajuns worked well on the inside but went 0-10 in three-point shots.
Louisiana showed their depth as a team as Dou Gueye, Kobe Julien and Butts flared up in the second half. Gueye, having five of seven career double-doubles in 2020-2021, got another with 16 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal. As for bench players, Julien and Butts, Julien had 11 points, six rebounds, and two blocks showing excellent potential. Butts put up 11 points and two assists.
Russel finally got on the board as tied up the game 46-46 with a three-point shot. From here we saw the Cajuns hold up their impenetrable zone defense stopping the Jaguars from scoring for over five minutes, allowing the Cajuns to take away the win as the score gets to 64-50.
With three guys having double-doubles and the bench scoring 11 points of their own, Louisiana showed they are not afraid to move the ball around as each player showed out.
Being one step closer to the championship, sights were set on the next game as the Cajuns looked to the Georgia State Panthers. Unfortunately, Louisiana’s season came to an end with a 73-84 loss to Georgia State.