NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball opens play in the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championships on Friday when it plays host to No. 9-seeded Texas State in a quarterfinal matchup at New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena.
Tipoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. The game can be heard in the Lafayette area on KHXT 107.9-FM, ESPN 1420-AM and on the ESPN 1420 app. The game will also be streamed live on ESPN3 with Matt Stewart (pxp), Bob Donewald (color) and Carley McCord (sideline) on the call.
Louisiana (26-5), the top-seed in the tournament for the first time since 2004, looks to capture its first SBC postseason title since 2014 when it defeated UT Arlington, Western Kentucky and Georgia State in a 38-hour span. The Ragin’ Cajuns won a school-record 26 games during the 2017-18 season while setting a new school record with 16 SBC victories.
The winner of Friday’s game between Louisiana and Texas State (15-17) will advance to the semifinals on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
The Bobcats advanced to the quarterfinals after a 73-66 victory over No. 8-seed Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, snapping a nine-game losing streak in the process.
GAME 32: Louisiana (26-5) vs. Texas State (15-17)
Date / Time: March 9, 2018 / 11:30 a.m.
Site: New Orleans, La.
Arena: Lakefront Arena (10,000)
Radio: KHXT 107.9 FM / ESPN 1420 AM
Talent: Jay Walker (pxp)
Talent: Matt Stewart (pxp), Bob Donewald (color), Carley McCord (sideline)
Live Stats: CajunStats.com
Social Updates: @RaginCajunsMBB | #GeauxCajuns
Series History: Louisiana leads, 11-1
In Lafayette: Louisiana leads, 6-0
In San Marcos: Louisiana leads 4-1
In New Orleans: Louisiana leads, 1-0
Current streak: Louisiana +4
Head Coach: Bob Marlin (Mississippi State, 1981)
Record at Louisiana: 154-109 (eighth season), Career Record: 502-275 (25th season)
Head Coach: Danny Kaspar (North Texas, 1978)
Record at TXST: 74-87 (fifth season), Career Record: 539-280 (27th season)
• Louisiana and Texas State meet for the second time in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Quarterfinals with the Ragin’ Cajuns claiming a 53-43 victory in 2015.
• Louisiana’s 26 wins during the 2017-18 season are a school-record, breaking the previous mark (25) set in 1970-71, 1971-72 and 1999-2000.
• Under head coach Bob Marlin, Louisiana is 58-31 overall in games played in February and March.
• Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin (Sam Houston State, 1998-2010) and Texas State head coach Danny Kaspar (Stephen F. Austin, 2000-13) meet for the sixth time in the postseason in their respective careers with Marlin holding a 4-1 advantage.
• Louisiana’s 24 wins in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament are the second-most among the current membership behind South Alabama’s 34.
• Louisiana led the Sun Belt Conference in scoring offense (84.0) for the sixth straight year and 11th time overall. The Ragin’ Cajuns 84.0 points per game is the highest by an SBC team since South Alabama (84.6) in 1994-95.
• Louisiana’s 16 victories in Sun Belt Conference play are the most in a single-season since joining the league in 1991-92.
• JaKeenan Gant’s 72 blocked shots in 2017-18 are the fifth-most in a single-season in Ragin’ Cajuns history. Gant needs two blocks to pass Kadeem Colby (73, 2011-12) to move into fourth-place on the single-season list.
• Marcus Stroman has dished out 191 assists on the season - the fifth-highest total in a single-season in school history. He is 18 assists shy of passing Elfrid Payton (208, 2013-14) for the fourth-most in a single-season.
• Since the 2013-14 season when Louisiana last reached the NCAA Tournament, the Ragin’ Cajuns have recorded 91 games with 80 or more points scored - the fifth-most by any Division I school during that span and trailing North Carolina (105), BYU (100), Gonzaga (95) and Duke (94).
• Louisiana is tied for second in the country with William and Mary in games making 20 or more free throws while converting at an 80-percent or greater mark (8). Xavier leads the nation with nine games.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
• Texas State, the No. 9 seed in the SBC Championships, snapped a nine-game losing streak - the longest of head coach Danny Kaspar’s career - with a 73-66 victory over No. 8 Coastal Carolina.
• Six of Texas State’s losses during the nine-game skid, which included a 73-63 loss at Louisiana on Feb. 15, were by four points or less.
• Nijal Pearson scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures as Texas State was 22-for-26 from the free throw line, including 18 of 21 in the second half.
• Eric Terry came off the bench to score 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the floor with Tyler Blount (14) and Tre Nottingham (10) scoring in double figures for the Bobcats.
• Pearson, a third-team All-SBC selection, leads Texas State in scoring (15.1) and is joined by Immanuel King for the team lead in rebounds (5.9).
• The winner of Friday’s quarterfinal will advance to the semifinals at 11:30 a.m., on Saturday.
THREE NAMED TO ALL-SBC TEAM; MARLIN NAMED SBC COACH OF THE YEAR
• Louisiana placed a league-high three players on the 2017-18 All-Sun Belt Conference Team with head coach Bob Marlin selected as the league’s Coach of the Year.
• Frank Bartley and Bryce Washington were each named to the first-team with JaKeenan Gant named to the third-team.
• Gant, in his first season with the Ragin’ Cajuns after two years at Missouri, was voted as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.
• Marlin, a three-time Southland Conference Coach of the Year at Sam Houston State, became the first Louisiana coach to claim SBC Coach of the Year honors since Marty Fletcher (1992).
THREE CAJUNS REACH 1,000-POINT MARK IN 2017-18
• With Frank Bartley reaching the 1,000-point mark on March 1 against Arkansas State, he became part of the fifth trio in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark in the same season.
• Bartley, who is one of nine players to reach the mark in two seasons, joined seniors Bryce Washington and Johnathan Stove in reaching the 1,000-point mark.
• The trio is the first to reach the 1,000-point mark since 2013-14 when Elfrid Payton, Shawn Long and Bryant Mbamalu achieved the feat en route to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and berth in the NCAA Championships.
• Other trios to reach the 1,000-point mark in the same season include:
1971-72 - Dwight “Bo” Lamar, Roy Ebron, Payton Townsend
1983-84 - Alonza Allen, Dion Brown, Graylin Warner
1993-94 - Michael Allen, Byron Starks, Tony Moore
BARTLEY JOINS ELITE COMPANY IN TWO-YEAR, 1,000-POINT SCORERS
• Bartley, who played his first two seasons at BYU, became the 47th player in score 1,000 points in his Ragin’ Cajuns career and the ninth to do it in two seasons.
• The Baton Rouge native is part of a select group of players that include: Dwight “Bo” Lamar, Andrew Toney, Shawn Long, Kevin Brooks, Jerry Flake, Roy Ebron, Sydney Grider and Elvin Ivory.