LAFAYETTE – Malik Marquetti and JaKeenan Gant combined for 39 points and all 11 of Louisiana’s blocked shots as the Ragin’ Cajuns built a 40-29 lead at halftime and defeated in-state opponent Southern University, 88-78, before an announced crowd of 5,666 on Saturday at the Cajundome.
Marcus Stroman nearly posted a triple-double with 14 points, eight assists and seven rebounds while Jerekius Davis came off the bench to add 11 as Louisiana (5-3) won its third straight game while playing on its home floor for the first time since Nov. 6.
Marquetti scored a season-high 20 points to lead all scorers as the senior made 10 of 12 free throws while grabbing four rebounds and getting three steals. Gant matched a season-high with 19 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns while blocking a career-high 10 shots – one off the school-record set by Michael Southall in 2006.
Louisiana never trailed in its first matchup against Southern (1-7) since a 91-65 victory on Dec. 18, 1996, opening the game on a 13-4 run that was capped by a 3-pointer by Cedric Russell with 15:27 remaining in the first half.
Southern cut the Louisiana lead to 15-11 – its closest margin of the night – on a 3-pointer by Eddie Reese with 11:52 left in the first half, but the Ragin’ Cajuns would answer as P.J. Hardy drained a 3-pointer and a bucket by Davis eventually would push the lead to 22-13.
Gant, who finished 8 of 13 shooting from the floor and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in narrowly missing a triple-double, gave Louisiana its largest lead of the game, 56-43, on a three-point play with 15:09 remaining.
The Jaguars would chip away at the lead, using a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 56-50 on Osa Wilson’s three-point play with 14:01 left, but a 3-pointer by Marquetti and a dunk by Gant would push the lead back to double-digits.
Richard Lee led Southern with 18 points, including 4-for-9 from behind the 3-point line. Reese added 17 points and three steals for the Jaguars while Bryan Assie added eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Louisiana will return to action on Wednesday (Dec. 5) when it plays host to Loyola of New Orleans. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Follow the Ragin’ Cajuns on Twitter (@RaginCajunsMBB), Facebook (RaginCajunsMBB) or Instagram (@RaginCajunsMBB) to stay up-to-date on all that is happening with Louisiana Men’s Basketball.