Ragin' Cajuns Athletics
Malik Marquetti scored a career-high 21 points while tying a career-high with five 3-pointers and Bryce Washington pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds to move into fourth place on the all-time Sun Belt list to lead the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to a 76-57 win over South Alabama on Thursday at the Cajundome.
JaKeenan Gant scored 15 of his 16 points in the second half and grabbed all eight rebounds after intermission as Louisiana (18-3, 8-0 SBC) won its 14th straight league game dating back to last season while posting its first-ever 8-0 start in SBC play. Frank Bartley added 11 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who closed out the first half on a 7-2 run before outscoring South Alabama (11-10, 4-4 SBC), 42-28, in the second half.
Marquetti, whose previous career-high was 19 points last Saturday at Texas State, scored 14 points in the first half for Louisiana with four 3-pointers in six attempts. Cedric Russell added a pair of first-half 3-pointers with Marcus Stroman draining a 3-pointer that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 16-4 lead with 14:15 remaining in the first half.
A 3-pointer by Russell with 8:23 remaining in the first half gave Louisiana a 27-14 lead, but the Jaguars would score the next 13 points to tie the game as Trhae Mitchell converted on a free throw with 3:28 remaining.
Marquetti responded with five straight points, beginning with his fourth 3-pointer of the game, to give the Ragin’ Cajuns the lead for good with 3:11 remaining in the half before hitting a pair of free throws to push the lead to 32-27.
A follow-up dunk by Gant with 12:32 remaining in the contest began a 15-2 run for the Ragin’ Cajuns over the next 6:50 after South Alabama closed to within 51-43 on a dunk by Kevin Morris.
Washington, who moved past former Old Dominion standout Kenny Gattison (1982-86) into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time Sun Belt Conference list in rebounds (now at 976), followed with a jumper in the lane for the Ragin’ Cajuns before Bartley, Gant and Marquetti each drained 3-pointers during the spurt that was capped by a pair of Johnathan Stove free throws for a 66-45 lead with 5:42 left.
Louisiana, which improved to 10-0 at home to start the season for the third time in school history, converted on 12 of 24 3-pointers in the game while shooting 14-for-27 (51.9 percent) from the floor in the second half. Washington added eight points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Stroman scoring seven points and dishing out five assists.
Mitchell led South Alabama with 16 points, going 7-for-10 from the floor. Josh Ajayi added 13 points for the Jaguars while Rodrick Sikes, who came into the game averaging an SBC-high 21.6 points in league games, was limited to six points on 1 of 10 shooting from the floor.
Louisiana will conclude its homestand on Saturday when it entertains defending SBC Tournament champion Troy in a 2 p.m. contest.