GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – Frank Bartley scored 17 points to lead four players in double figures and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball outscored Iowa, 27-7, over the final 10:59 of the first half to earn an 80-71 victory in the opening game of the Cayman Islands Classic on Monday at John Gray Gymnasium.
JaKeenan Gant scored 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting with Bryce Washington posting a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds as Louisiana (3-1) won its third straight game while holding Iowa (3-1) without a bucket for over nine minutes and 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) shooting in the first half. Justin Miller added 14 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who will face the winner of Wyoming or South Dakota State at 1:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday.
“We settled in on offense and locked in defensively, we had a great stretch where we did a good job and we were able to score after getting (defensive) stops and runouts,” head coach Bob Marlin said. “We were able to attack their (Iowa’s) pressure and get some easy buckets.
“It was a great defensive effort. When you have a double-digit lead like that at the half, you know that the other team is going to come hard at you. They (Iowa) were pressing us and they got some calls. We just had to be strong mentally and fight through it. I thought we did a really good job in answering and not letting them back in it.”
Both teams traded buckets midway through the first half with Louisiana taking its first lead at 10-8 on a pair of free throws by Washington with 11:37 remaining in the first half.
After Iowa’s Jack Nunge tied the game with a jumper in the lane at the 11:21 mark, Louisiana scored the next 12 points to blow open the game as P.J. Hardy began the run with a 3-pointer with 10:59 left. Cedric Russell followed with a 3-pointer for the Ragin’ Cajuns before Gant scored on a pair of buckets and Miller added a layup for a 22-10 lead with 8:12 left.
Bartley, who finished 7-for-13 from the floor, added a 3-point bucket and a layup that helped push Louisiana’s lead to 27-11 with 4:27 remaining in the half before Washington followed with back-to-back layups that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 31-11 lead at the 2:22 mark.
Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon hit a 3-point with 2:15 remaining in the half – the Hawkeyes’ first bucket in a 9:06 span – and Nunge converted on a three-point play with 1:02 remaining, but Louisiana extended its lead to 37-17 after Stroman collected one of his career-high tying four steals while finding Washington for a layup just before the buzzer.
The Ragin’ Cajuns extended their lead to 44-20 on the first of two free throws by Washington at the 18:06 mark and never let Iowa get as close as nine points the rest of the way.
Isaiah Moss led Iowa with 24 points, including a 10-for-10 performance from the free throw line. Bohannon added 21 points for the Hawkeyes, who finished 22-for-60 (36.7 percent) from the floor.