Jan 18, 2014 11:47 PM by AP
TROY, Ala. - Shawn Long and Elfrid Payton helped fuel a 13-1 over the final 5:31 and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns earned a hard fought 72-59 victory over Troy in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at Trojan Arena.
Long scored six of his game-high 18 points in the final run for the Ragin' Cajuns (12-6, 3-2 SBC), capped by a layup for a 72-58 lead with 1:21 remaining. Payton scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half as the Cajuns closed out the game with a 23-8 run over the final 9:09 after a layup by Kelton Ford gave Troy (7-11, 2-4 SBC) a 51-49 lead.
"Our second half defense was very good for us tonight and I'm proud of how our guys responded after they (Troy) came back from a 10-point deficit," head coach Bob Marlin said. "I told them during a timeout that this was our game. We worked the ball inside-out and got some good looks at the basket."
Kevin Brown tied the game at 51-51 with a pair of free throws with 9:09 remaining before back-to-back 3-pointers by Xavian Rimmer put the Cajuns up for good, 57-51.
Troy closed to within 57-56 on a 3-pointer by Hunter Williams with 7:03 remaining before the Trojans missed their final four shots, including five of six free throws, with a pair of turnovers the rest of the way
The Cajuns held Troy scoreless for over five minutes in the first half after Tevin Calhoun's dunk with 7:42 remaining cut the lead to 26-22. The Trojans would miss their next four attempts from the floor with four turnovers before Kevin Thomas sank a contested jumper with 2:15 remaining in the half that cut the Cajuns' lead to 31-24.
With Troy's cold shooting in the first half (10-for-32, 31.3 percent), the Cajuns pulled away as Elridge Moore scored on a putback before a three-point play by Kasey Shepherd gave the Cajuns a 31-22 lead at the 6:55 mark.
Shepherd gave the Ragin' Cajuns their biggest lead of the half, 34-24, when he buried a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:58 remaining.
The Ragin' Cajuns will return to action on Thursday when it plays host to league leader Georgia State in a 7:15 p.m. contest at the Cajundome. The Cajuns will conclude the weekend on Saturday (Jan. 25) when it plays host to WKU in a 3 p.m. contest that will be nationally televised on ESPN2.