First Half Run Carries Cajuns 90-70 Win

First Half Run Carries Cajuns 90-70 Win

LAFAYETTE – Shawn Long scored seven of his team-high 22 points during a 17-2 run in the first half and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns rebounded from a slow start in the first three minutes to claim a 90-70 victory over UT Arlington in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at the Cajundome.

Kasey Shepherd came off the bench to score 17 points for Louisiana, 10-5, 1-1 Sun Belt) while Elfrid Payton and Xavian Rimmer had 12 points each. The Cajuns, the Sun Belt leader in points per game (84.9) entering the contest, remained unbeaten in seven games at home as they buried nine 3-pointers and finished 31-for-39 from the free throw line.

UTA (6-10, 1-3 Sun Belt) opened the game with a fast break dunk by Brandon Edwards, and led 8-7 after a jumper by Jamal Outler at the 17:01 mark before the Cajuns shifted gears scoring the game's next 14 points. Shepherd opened the run for the Cajuns with a 3-pointer and was followed by a putback by Long added a bucket before back-to-back 3-pointers by Kevin Brown and Shepherd gave Louisiana an 18-8 lead.

Long, who finished 8-for-17 from the floor and added nine rebounds with a career-high seven blocks, added a three-point play and a layup before Payton capped the run with a free throw that gave the Cajuns a 24-10 lead with 11:23 remaining in the first half.

Louisiana led at halftime, 45-27, and used an 11-2 run early in the second half to build a 60-34 cushion against the league's second-highest scoring team (80.1 ppg.). Long converted a three-point play at the 17:19 mark to open the spurt, with Rimmer adding a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer and Bryant Mbamalu capping the run with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 15:12 remaining.

The Cajuns took their biggest lead – 71-44 – when Shepherd sank a pair of free throws with 9:28 remaining before UTA began to chip away at the lead.

UTA, which was led by Lonnie McClanahan's season-high 27 points, got as close as 85-70 when McClanahan sank a pair of free throws with 2:08 left before the Cajuns scored the game's final five points on a bucket by Shepherd and a three-point play by Vieux Kande.

Louisiana finished 25-for-55 (45.5 percent) from the floor in the game, including going 12-for-24 in the second half. The Cajuns finished 9-for-22 from the behind the 3-point line and scored 21 points off 15 UTA turnovers.

Edwards added 10 points for the Mavs, who were held to 24-for-61 (39.3 percent) from the floor and 5-for-20 from long range.

The Cajuns will return to action on Monday when it plays host to Texas State in a game that will be televised by the Sun Belt Network. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Cajundome Ticket Office at (337) 265-2100 or on-line at www.RaginCajuns.com.

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