LAFAYETTE – JaKeenan Gant recorded his first career double-double with 21 points and a career-high tying 11 rebounds while Frank Bartley scored all 19 of his points in the second half to lead the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to an 87-65 win over New Orleans in a non-conference game on Saturday at the Cajundome.
Bryce Washington scored 12 points with Marcus Stroman and Malik Marquetti each adding 10 as Louisiana (9-2) won its sixth straight game and equaled its best start since 1993-94.
Gant, a Missouri transfer who recorded his fourth straight 20-point game, scored 17 points in the first half on 7 of 10 shooting as the Ragin’ Cajuns took a 42-35 lead at halftime.
Stroman, who dished out seven assists, opened a 10-3 run for the Ragin’ Cajuns in the first half with a 3-pointer at the 11:53 mark before a bucket by Washington and a 3-pointer by freshman Cedric Russell gave Louisiana a 22-15 lead.
New Orleans (2-7) opened the second half with a dunk by Travin Thibodeaux, cutting the lead to 42-37 with 19:33 remaining, but a layup by Marquetti, a 3-pointer by Bartley and two free throws from Washington pushed Louisiana’s lead to 49-37 with 18:08 left.
Bartley, who went 0-for-3 from the floor in the first half, was 5-for-6 in the final 20 minutes with three 3-pointers as Louisiana shot 14-for-24 (58 percent) in the second half and outscored the Privateers, 45-30.
Bryson Robinson hit the second of two free throws that got New Orleans as close as 72-60 with 7:31 remaining, but the Cajuns pulled away with a 9-1 run over the next 2:34 that was capped by a Marquetti 3-pointer for an 81-61 with 4:48 left.
Thibodeaux scored 23 points for New Orleans going 10-for-14 from the floor with a pair of 3-pointers. Diontae Champion added 11 points for the Privateers, who went 15-for-27 from the floor in the first half before being limited to 10 for 26 aim (38.5 percent) in the second half.
Louisiana will wrap up its non-conference home schedule on Tuesday when it plays host to Southeastern Louisiana in a 7 p.m. contest at the Cajundome.