Dec 27, 2012 11:43 PM by UL Sports Information
JONESBORO, Ark. - Arkansas State used scoring runs at the start of both halves to create separation from Louisiana and the result was an 87-70 Red Wolves victory here Thursday evening at the Convocation Center as Sun Belt Conference action resumed.
ASU (7-5, 1-2 Sun Belt) rolled off a 13-0 run to seize the momentum in the opening minutes of the contest. After Louisiana (5-9, 1-2 Sun Belt) pulled within three points late in the first half (31-28), a 7-2 run to close out the half combined with an 8-0 run to start the second half opened a 46-30 lead.
The Red Wolves led by double digits the rest of the night - by as many as 26 points with 10:40 remaining - in posting their fourth straight win over the Ragin' Cajuns on their home floor.
The loss prevented Louisiana from posting back-to-back wins for the first time this season. The Red Wolves broke a two-game losing streak.
The Ragin' Cajuns are set to return home on Friday to begin preparing for a Saturday contest with UALR at the Cajundome. Tipoff with the Trojans (8-6, 2-1 Sun Belt) in slated for 7:05 p.m.
ASU shot 46 percent in both halves and received a game-high 31 points from Ed Townsel.
Louisiana shot in the low 30s and finished at 38 percent in the first half. The Cajuns shot 9-for-16 in the final 7:41 as they were able to lower the ASU lead to 11 points on two different occasions.
Elfrid Payton led four Cajuns in double figures with 20 points. He was joined in double figures by Alan-Michael Thompson (13), Shawn Long (10) and Josh Soto (10).
The Cajuns grabbed the first lead of the game on a Payton layup at 18:35 off a Moore steal, but a 13-0 run by the Red Wolves had Louisiana playing catch up the rest of the opening stanza.
ASU benefitted from 13 points off Cajuns turnovers in the first 10 minutes to claim a 21-9 lead at the under-12 timeout. The Red Wolves were shooting 60 percent, while the Cajuns started at just 30 percent.
Two quick scores for the Cajuns - a Soto three out of the timeout, then Payton dunk off a cross-court pass from Long - lowered the deficit into single digits at 23-14.
After a Long triple at 8:07, the ASU lead hovered between eight and 10 points for the next two minutes until Soto provided a five-point spurt to get UL the closest it had been since the 17-minute mark.
It was a triple by Soto at 6:07 that trimmed the ASU lead to 29-22, then after a Cameron Golden turnover the Cajuns pushed the ball up the floor where Soto put back a missed layup by Thompson at 5:51 and the deficit was 29-24.
Golden would answer for the Red Wolves, but the Cajuns defense held the hosts scoreless for four-plus minutes and was able to cut the ASU lead to 31-28 after a Elridge Moore basket at 2:43.
UL nearly completed the first half rally at the 2:06 mark, but Thompson's three-point attempt was off the mark.
Golden made a trey for the Red Wolves, the first points of a 7-2 run to end the first stanza with a 38-30 lead.
ASU continued to stretch its lead at the onset of the second half, scoring eight unanswered in the first 1:34 of the half. Three-point makes from Townsel on back-to-back possessions opened the largest lead of the night, 46-30, and prompted a Cajuns timeout.
Townsel's third trey of the second stanza came at 15:36 and opened a 54-36 ASU lead. The advantage grew to 20 points for the first time when Raeford Worsham converted a second-chance opportunity coming out of the media timeout.
Louisiana, which found themselves trailing 67-41 with 10:40 remaining, made a late push to get back in the game. The Cajuns put together an 18-3 run that lowered the Red Wolves lead to 70-59 with 5:40 on the clock.
A Townsel three-point play on the ensuing possession made it 73-59 and helped ASU keep its double digit lead.
Kasey Shephered hit a three in the left corner at 2:24 made it an 11-point game again (77-66), but four straight empty possessions and eight straight ASU freebies sealed up the victory.