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Nov 18, 2012 11:43 PM by UL Sports Information

Scoreless Stretch Hits Cajuns Late in Second Half

BOISE, Idaho - The one factor that pulled the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball team into a halftime lead over Boise State was the same factor that led to a 63-57 defeat here Sunday afternoon at Taco Bell Arena.

The Ragin' Cajuns (1-2) stormed back from a 20-6 first half deifict with a 19-0 run, the latter part featuring a stretch in which the Broncos missed six consecutive shots and closed out the half shooting 2-of-11.

Elfrid Payton fed Bryant Mbamalu for a cutting layup with 7:50 remaining to give Louisiana a 52-50 lead prior to the media timeout. From that point on, though, the Cajuns missed 11 consecutive shots and it was the Broncos with a 9-0 run that placed the Cajuns in a deficit that caused them to have a near-miss in a tough environment.

Anthony Drmic returned the lead to the Broncos (3-0) for good with a triple at the 7:24 mark. During the Cajuns cold spell BSU picked up an additional six points to extend the lead to 59-52.

Alan-Michael Thompson's layup with 55 seconds showing snapped the Cajuns string of consecutive misses and pulled Louisiana back into a two-possession game.

Steven Wronkoski came up with a steal near mid-court and after a Cajuns timeout, converted a layup off the inbounds pass to cut the deficit to 61-57. Derrick Marks came through with two free throws for BSU with eight seconds and Payton's three-point attempt at an answer bounced off the rim.

Louisiana can look to a 2-for-15 performance from the field in the waning minutes as a reason for the defeat. Boise State's ability to get to the free throw line in the second stanza - 11-of-19 compared to 6-of-9 in the first half - also contributed to the host's ability to run their record to 3-0.

The Cajuns, despite being outrebounded 41-29 (14-7 on the offensive glass), kept the game from getting away from them in the first half with a defense that forced turnovers. Louisiana forced Boise State into 16 turnovers the entire contest, but only six points were produced off the BSU miscues.

Sunday's meeting marked the first between the two schools since the Albertson's Holiday Classic in December 1993, also played at Taco Bell Arena. The Broncos picked up their first win over the Cajuns, who now lead the series 2-1.

Louisiana returns home for a meeting with Southern-New Orleans at the Cajundome on Wednesday, Nov. 21. The 7:05 p.m., contest gives the Cajuns a chance to rebound from a 0-2 road trip and is a brief break from a stretch of four-of-five games on the road that continues next weekend at New Mexico State (Friday) and Michigan State (Sunday).

Payton and Thompson each scored 12 points to lead the Cajuns offense. Marks led three BSU players in double digits with a game-high 14 points.

Due to foul trouble, Shawn Long was limited to four points and three rebounds in 16 minutes of action. Payton and Wronkoski wound up the Cajuns leading rebounders with six apiece.

Each team tested the other defensively in the opening moments and the result was a scoreless affair through two minutes of action. The game's first point was a Watkins freebie at 17:28

The Cajuns forced three Boise turnovers in the first four minutes, but trailed 4-2 at 15:43 after starting 1-of-5 from the floor.

Long and Elirdge Moore picked up two fouls apiece early for Louisiana and were sent to the bench. The Broncos took advantage during that time outscoring the Cajuns 8-0 to stretch the lead to 13-4 and prompt a Cajuns timeout at 11:27.

Long and Moore returned to the floor following the under-12 timeout and the Cajuns methodically put a dent in the Broncos lead that had grown to 20-6 after Marks converted a running layup at 9:14.

Moore scored from inside the paint at 7:29 and Louisiana's deficit was back in single digits at 20-12.

The defense continued to cause problems for BSU as the Cajuns held the Broncos 0-for-6 from the field and forced four turnovers over a six minute stretch in which the squad battled back to forge a 20-all tie at 3:18 on two Wronkoski free throws.

On the team's next possession Wronkonski gave Louisiana its first lead since the 17-minute mark when he buried a trey at 2:43. Off a missed three-point attempt by Mikey Thompson on BSU's end, Payton drew a foul and more two free throws that stretched the Cajuns run to 19 points and opened a 25-20 edge.

BSU ended a seven-minute field goal drought at 2:04 on a Marks bucket. The Cajuns answered with a Cornell Barnett make on the opposite end to maintain the momentum shift.

Due to their ability to reverse shooting woes - 1-of-11 in first nine minutes and 8-of-12 in final 11 minutes - the Cajuns walked into the locker room with the season's first halftime lead, 28-26.

The Broncos scored of their first two touches of the second stanza and reclaimed the lead 30-28 at 18:50. Long picked up his third foul during the second BSU possession. Thompson moved the Cajuns into a tie when he converted a long-range jumper on the right wing at 18:27.

After alternating two-point makes and tie scores, Boise's Thompson buried a triple at 16:06 to trigger a 7-2 run that staked the hosts to a 41-36 lead by the 14:43 mark.

The Cajuns used a surge from three-point land, getting one apiece from Payton, Mbamalu and Thompson over a three-minute stretch, and the visitors used an 11-5 run to take a 47-46 lead with 11:04 remaining.

It was Thompson again with a trey for the Cajuns at 10:11 and it returned the lead to Louisiana at 50-48 after BSU came out of the media timeout with a Marks jumper.

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