Jan 11, 2013 3:45 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. -- Mychal Ammon's dunk with 20 seconds left proved to be the deciding basket but Shawn Long's 25-footer at the buzzer was halfway down before coming out to give South Alabama a 91-89 double overtime victory over Louisana in the Cajundome on Thursday night.
The loss dropped the Cajuns to 6-12 on the year and 2-5 in Sun Belt play while the Jaguars improved to 8-7 overall and 4-3 in league play. It was the first multiple overtime game for UL since a 63-62 double OT win over Denver on Jan. 3, 2008.
Despite playing the final 20 minutes with four fouls, Elfrid Payton led Louisiana with a career-high 26 points while Bryant added 19 points and Long had 14 points and 14 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the year.
Freshman Steven Wronkoski, who had scored one point in the previous four games, totaled 12 points in the contest.
Augustine Rubit led the Jaguars with 26 points and nine rebounds with Dre Conner and Antione Allen scoring 19 points each. Ammons added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The game featured a five-minute delay at the 4:48 mark because condensation due to the high humidity caused moisture to leak up from the ice surface underneath the court. The game resumed after the temperature in the Cajundome was lowered, but both teams had players slip and fall during the second half and overtime during crucial moments..
"Tonight's game was bizarre," Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said. "We had the problem with the moisture, two overtimes and foul trouble and the difference ends up being a missed three-pointer that was halfway down at the buzzer.
"I thought we showed composure to come back from 13 down in the second half and we made some big plays in overtime. Now, we just need to put it together for the entire game so that we don't dig ourselves a hole.
"Every game in the Sun Belt is a battle. We need to get this game behind us and get ready for Arkansas State on Saturday," Marlin added.
The first half belonged to the Jaguars as South Alabama shot .519 from the field (14-27), including a five-for-eight effort from three-point (.625) and seven-for-eight from the line (.875) to take a 40-30 halftime lead. At the same time, Louisiana shot just .367 (11-30)
Things changed after the break as the Cajuns were a blistering 16-for-26 from the field in the second half (.615) while the Jaguars struggled to shoot .355 (11-31) to help Louisiana get back into the contest.
With the game tied at 74-74, Ammons missed an eight-foot turnaround jumper on the baseline with two seconds left to send the game into overtime.
With Louisiana trailing 80-78, Wronkoski gave the Cajuns an 81-80 lead on a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down with 2:03 left. Elridge Moore made one of two free throws before Allen tied the game at 82-82 with 45 seconds left.
Payton had a chance to put UL ahead, but missed a short jumper with nine seconds left, but made up for it by drawing an offensive foul by Freddie Goldstein seconds later. The Cajuns couldn't get a good shot off, sending the game to a second overtime.
Four free throws by Rubit in the second overtime helped South Alabama take a, 89-84 lead with 3:07 left, but Payton weaved his way to the basket for a pair of baskets and Long made one of two free throws to even the game ay 89-89 with 38 seconds left and set up dramatic end.
Turnovers proved to be a problem for each team. The Cajuns committed a season-high 24 miscues while the Jaguars had 22 with each team scoring 23 points off turnovers.
The game was a physical one with 48 fouls called, including 22 on the Cajuns. South Alabama had starters Conner and Freddie Goldstein foul out while Moore was disqualified for the Cajuns.
The game served as another outstanding performance by the Cajun trio of Payton, Long and Mbamalu, who have carried the offensive load for Louisiana this year. It also was the 50th game at Louisiana for both Mbamalu and Payton.
In foul trouble for most of the game and limited to just four points in the first half, Payton adjusted his game, opting to use a soft floater in the lane instead of driving all the way to the basket. He was eight-for-14 from the field and set a career-high by going 10-for-12 from the line, adding seven assists, six rebounds and three steals.
Mbamalu also struggled in the first half, scoring just four points, but went seven-for-13 from the field in the second half and overtime with a pair of treys. He is now averaging 18.9 points over his last six games.
Long's defensive play in overtime was a key for the Cajuns as the freshman blocked three shots. Ranked eighth nationally going into the game in double-doubles, his 14 points and 14 rebounds allowed him to tie Rubit for the Sun Belt lead.
The first half featured four lead changes, the last coming when the Jaguars ran off 13 straight points to turn a 22-20 Cajun lead (7:27) into a 33-22 advantage with 4:01 left.
Louisiana would trim the lead to 35-28 on baskets by Payton and Aaron LeBlanc and a pair of Payton free throws, but South Alabama would score five of the last seven points in the first half to lead 40-30 at the break.
Foul trouble hurt the Cajuns in the first half as Elfrid Payton played just 11 minutes after picking up his second foul with 10:19 to play.
South Alabama pushed the lead to 46-33 with 17:07 left in the game before the Cajuns rallied. Down 59-50 at the 9:04 mark, Payton scored seven points during an 11-2 that evened the game at 61-61 with 6:40 left.
Mbamalu took over later, starting a 7-0 Cajun burst with a basket inside and finished it with a long three-pointer to put UL ahead, 70-64 with 2:51 left. South Alabama answered with a pair of three-pointers to come back and force overtime.
The Cajuns continue the conference schedule on Saturday (Jan. 14) at home against Arkansas State. The game is a doubleheader with the UL women's team taking on ASU at 5:00 p.m. followed by the men's game at 7:15 p.m. It will be Take a Kid To A Game Day with children 12 and under being admitted free with an adult.