Mar 3, 2014 12:56 AM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - Playing in his final home game in a Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns uniform, senior Bryant Mbamalu made sure it was going to be a memorable one.
The senior posted his first career double-double, scoring a career-high 32 points while grabbing a career-high tying 11 rebounds and became the 42nd player in school history to record 1,000-points in leading the Cajuns to a 102-74 victory over South Alabama in a Sun Belt Conference game on Sunday at the Cajundome.
Mbamalu, who joined teammates Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long in reaching the 1,000-point barrier this season, finished 10-for-19 from the floor and 5-for-7 from behind the 3-point line as Louisiana (19-10, 10-6 SBC) scored 100 points against a Sun Belt Conference opponent since defeating North Texas, 105-74, on Jan. 31, 2013.
Long added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Cajuns with J.J. Davenport coming off the bench to add 11. Payton, who scored five points and dished out seven assists, recorded a pair of steals to increase his career total to 185 and pass Chris Manuel (184 from 1995-98) as the school's all-time leader.
The Cajuns, who shot a blistering 61.7 percent from the floor (37-for-60), took control of the game early in the first half, using a 10-2 run that was aided by a dunk and a pair of 3-pointers by Mbamalu.
South Alabama (9-20, 3-13 SBC) got as close as 19-16 on a bucket by Aakim Saintil, but Long scored on a pair of baskets, Vieux Kande added a putback and Davenport converted on a three-point play for a 28-16 lead with 10:07 remaining.
Mbamalu, who scored 17 points in the first half, gave the Cajuns a 43-22 lead with a layup and a bucket by Davenport with 0.1 seconds remaining gave Louisiana a 53-27 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, the Cajuns never let the Jaguars get as close as 18 points and took their biggest lead of the night when Mbamalu reached the 1,000-point mark when he made a pair of free throws for a 98-68 lead with 1:58 remaining.
Ken Williams led South Alabama with 22 points while Barrington Stevens added 18 and Augustine Rubit 17.
Louisiana will return to action on Thursday (March 6) when it visits WKU in a 7 p.m. contest at E.A. Diddle Arena.
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