Nov 9, 2013 9:25 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. - Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long each registered double-doubles, combining to score 44 points as Louisiana raced past Louisiana College, 101-67, on Saturday afternoon in the Cajundome in the 2013-14 season opener for both teams.
With all five starters and a total of 10 lettermen back from last year's squad, the experience of the Cajuns was evident as Louisiana shot .519 from the field (41-79), held the Wildcats to .339 shooting (21-62), committed just 10 turnovers and had a 50-32 rebounding advantage.
The Cajuns also went 17-for-19 from the line (.895), topping their best effort of 2012-13 (.857 at Boise State).
"That was a pretty good start," Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said. "We got off to a good start offensively and passed the ball sharply. Elfrid and Shawn are two difference makers and they both had a strong showing today. Elfrid ran the offense efficiently and got us out and running while Shawn controlled the lower post. They didn't have an answer for him.
"We've got some work to do, but this was a good showing. We took care of the ball, had good shot selection and made our free throws. We were a little vanilla in our post defense, but it is early and we will come together," Marlin added.
The 101 points was the most by the Cajuns since defeating North Texas, 105-74 on Jan. 31, 2013. It was the third game of 100 or more points in Marlin's four-year tenure as the Cajuns head coach.
After ranking sixth nationally with 18 double-doubles last year, Long had his first of the season before half. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds in the opening half on the way to finishing with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Payton had a similar strong first half, scoring 15 points with seven assists in 14 minutes of action in the first half. He finished with 21 points and a career-high matching 10 assists to record his fourth career double-double.
Elridge Moore did not miss a shot en route to scoring seven of his 11 points in the second half. He was four-for-four from the field and made all three free throws.
Anthony Gaines, Jr. led the Wildcats with 21 points and seven rebounds while Kevin Cottonham used a 10-for-10 showing at the line to add 12 points.
"One real good thing was that we were able to play our bench. Elfrid (Payton) led us with 26 minutes played and just about everybody in our second unit was able to play 10 minutes or minutes," Marlin added.
With Payton leading the way, the Cajuns jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead. Payton scored the opening basket of the game on a breakaway dunk after he stole the ball from LC's Doc Welch, added assists on two of the next three baskets and concluded the ran with a basket in the lane at the 17:36 mark.
Louisiana College came back, running off seven straight points, including five by Kevin Lewis, to take a 11-10 lead with 15:21 left.
That was it for the Wildcats as the Cajuns came to life, running off 17 of the next 21 points to open up a 27-15 lead with11:19 left in the half.
Long keyed the run with six points and sophomore Kasey Shepherd finished it with a pair of baskets inside off passes from Payton.
The lead would grow to as many as 21 in the first half as Long finished the opening stanza with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks while Payton added 15 points, seven assists and a pair of steals.
The second half was more of the same as Louisiana led by no less than 18 points the entire half.
Cajuns newcomers Hayward Register (seven points), J.J. Davenport (six points & five rebounds)
Holding a 79-52 lead with 7:56 left, Marlin went to his bench, removing all five starters in favor of his third unit, which finished the game.
Walk-on Donovan Williams, who was injured for a large part of the 2012-13 campaign, led the third unit, scoring a career-high nine points, while Braylon Lazare added a career-high six points and four rebounds.
The Cajuns will have little time to celebrate the winning, returning to the Cajundome hardwood on Tuesday night (Nov. 12) for a 7:00 p.m. meeting with McNeese State.