LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team wraps up the opening weekend of Sun Belt Conference play on Saturday when it plays host to league rival Little Rock at the Cajundome.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Dan McDonald (pxp) and Eric Mouton (color) on the call. Fans can listen to the game in the Lafayette area on KHXT-FM (107.9), ESPN 1420 AM and worldwide on RaginCajuns.com with Jay Walker (PxP) and Ross Cook (color) providing the commentary.
Louisiana (9-5, 0-1 SBC) dropped its league opener on Thursday in a 94-83 setback to Arkansas State, despite a game-high 25 points from Marcus Stroman along with 19 from JaKeenan Gant and Justin Miller.
Gant, one of two players ranked in the top 10 among SBC players in scoring (16.5), rebounds (7.5), field goal percentage (.509) and blocked shots (3.2), leads Louisiana’s offensive attack that ranks second in the league in scoring offense (83.4).
Little Rock, under first-year coach Darrell Walker, opened Sun Belt Conference play with a 97-84 loss at ULM on Thursday despite shooting 62 percent from the floor and placing four players in double figures.
Rayjon Tucker, the No. 3 scorer in the Sun Belt Conference, leads Little Rock in scoring (20.5) with Markquis Nowell (11.8) and Nikola Maric (11.6) averaging in double figures. Kris Bankston (9.5), Ryan Pippins (9.4), Deondre Burns (8.8) and Jaizec Lottie (8.6) all provide scoring opportunities for the Trojans, who average 79.0 points per game.
Louisiana leads the all-time series, 30-22, including a 16-7 mark in games played in Lafayette.
LOUISIANA (9-5, 0-1 SBC) vs. LITTLE ROCK (5-9, 0-1 SBC)
Date / Time: January 5, 2019 / 7 p.m.
Site: Lafayette, La.
Arena: Cajundome (12,362)
Radio: KHXT 107.9 FM / ESPN 1420 AM
Talent: Jay Walker (PxP); Ross Cook (color)
Talent: Dan McDonald (pxp); Eric Mouton (color)
Live Stats: CajunStats.com
Social Updates: @RaginCajunsMBB | #GeauxCajuns
Overall: Louisiana leads, 30-22
In Lafayette: Louisiana leads, 16-7
In Little Rock: Little Rock leads, 14-10
Neutral: Louisiana leads, 3-1
Streak: Little Rock +1
Head Coach: Bob Marlin (Mississippi State, 1981)
Record at Louisiana: 164-115 (ninth season), Career Record: 512-281 (26th season)
Head Coach: Darrell Walker (Arkansas, 2012)
Record at Little Rock: 5-9 (first season), Career Record: 50-27 (third season)
• Louisiana’s JaKeenan Gant and Little Rock’s Rayjon Tucker are two of four SBC players (Zac Cuthbertson of Coastal Carolina and Jordon Varnado of Troy) currently ranked in the top 10 in scoring, rebounds and field goal percentage in 2018-19.
• With 306 assists in his Ragin’ Cajuns career, Marcus Stroman is seven shy of tying Brad Boyd (2000-04) for 17th place in school history, eight from tying Dwayne Mitchell (2003-06) and 11 from tying Randal Smith (1984-88).
• Today’s game pits two of the top scoring teams in the Sun Belt Conference with Louisiana ranked second (83.4) and Little Rock fourth (79.0).
• Louisiana looks to avoid its first 0-2 start in Sun Belt Conference play since the 2010-11 season when the Cajuns started 0-3.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns will look to avoid being swept at home by its Arkansas rivals for the first time since 2006-07 and third time overall (1994-95).
• JaKeenan Gant and Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga) are the only Division I players averaging 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.
• Marcus Stroman and Brian Beard, Jr. (Florida International) are the only Division I players averaging 12 points, 4 rebounds. 6.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns are officially 257-179 in Sun Belt Conference play and 91-56 under head coach Bob Marlin.
• Louisiana’s 73-72 victory at Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday was its first one-point win since defeating ULM, 85-84, on Feb. 18, 2017. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 11-4 overall in one-point games under head coach Bob Marlin and 55-49 overall in school history.
• Justin Miller leads the Sun Belt Conference in offensive rebounds per game (2.7) and averages 7.3 boards per game, joining JaKeenan Gant (7.5) as one of two SBC duos ranked in the top 10 in rebounds (Jordon Varnado/Alex Hicks of Troy).
SCOUTING LITTLE ROCK
• Little Rock, under first-year coach Darrell Walker, opened Sun Belt Conference play with a 97-84 loss at ULM on Thursday despite shooting 62 percent from the floor and placing four players in double figures.
• Ryan Pippens came off the bench to score 19 points to lead the Trojans with Markquis Nowell (18), Rayjon Tucker (16) and Nikola Maric (12) all scoring in double figures.
• Tucker, the No. 3 scorer in the Sun Belt Conference, leads Little Rock in scoring (20.5) with Nowell (11.8) and Maric (11.6) averaging in double figures. Kris Bankston (9.5), Pippins (9.4), Deondre Burns (8.8) and Jaizec Lottie (8.6) all provide scoring opportunities for the Trojans, who average 79.0 points per game.
CAJUNS GET BATTLE-TESTED EARLY
• For only the second time in school history, Louisiana faced at least two teams ranked in the top 10 when it played at No. 6 Tennessee (Nov. 9) and No. 2 Kansas (Nov. 16).
• The only other time Louisiana faced two top-10 teams in the same season was in 2004-05 when the Ragin’ Cajuns played then No. 2-ranked Kansas (L, 96-51) and No. 4 Louisville (L, 68-62).
• The Nov. 16 game at Kansas was Louisiana’s second contest against a No. 2-ranked team in school history – ironically, the previous game against a No. 2 team was Kansas.
• Louisiana’s lone win against a top-5 team in nine games came in a 70-61 win over then-No. 5 Georgetown (with freshman Patrick Ewing) in the opening game of the 1981 Great Alaska Shootout.
THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS LEGACY LIVES ON
• Two members of the 2018-19 Ragin’ Cajuns squad are following in the footsteps of their fathers, who each played for then-USL.
• Freshman forward Kobe Julien (Baton Rouge) is the son of former Ragin’ Cajuns forward Wayne Julien (1977-81) with freshman guard Eli Mouton (Lafayette) the son of former Ragin’ Cajuns player and current ESPN+ analyst Eric Mouton.
BORN ON THE BAYOU
• Eight of the 15 players on the 2018-19 Ragin’ Cajuns basketball team hail from the state of Louisiana.
• Baton Rouge – Kobe Julien (Madison Prep) and Jalen Johnson (University Lab); Lafayette – Eli Mouton (Ascension Episcopal School); Lake Charles – P.J. Hardy (St. Louis Catholic); Alexandria – Cedric Russell (Peabody); Luling – Mason Aucoin (Hahnville); DeRidder – R.J. Gladney (DeRidder); Roseland – Jeremy Hayes.
• Head coach Bob Marlin is in his ninth season at the helm of the Ragin’ Cajuns with his teams from 2013-15 equaling the most wins (45) since a period from 1982-84 which saw then-USL post records of 22-10 (1982-83) and 23-10 (1983-84).
• During the past two seasons, Louisiana’s 48 wins equaled the 1970-72 teams for the best two-year mark in school history.
• Under Marlin’s guidance, the Ragin’ Cajuns have made five postseason appearances, including a berth in the 2014 NCAA Championships.
• He is 164-116 in his career at Louisiana and has taken two teams – Louisiana (2014) and Sam Houston State (2003, 2010) to the NCAA Championships.
AT HOME IN THE DOME
• In eight of the past nine seasons, Louisiana has won 10 or more games in the Cajundome, highlighted by a single-season record tying 14 victories in 2017-18.
• Louisiana is 4-2 overall at the Cajundome in 2018-19.
• Since opening in 1985-86, Louisiana has posted a 333-127 record in the Cajundome and is 95-29 under head coach Bob Marlin.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
• During the Bob Marlin era, Louisiana is 46-41 in games decided by six points or less with at least nine wins recorded in both 2010-11 and 2013-14.
• The Cajuns were 3-1 in games decided by six points or less in 2017-18 and are 2-0 this season.
• In one point contests, Louisiana’s 73-72 victory at Southeastern Louisiana on Dec. 29 was its since defeating ULM, 85-84, on Feb. 18, 2017.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns are 11-4 overall in one-point games under head coach Bob Marlin and 55-49 overall in school history.
CAJUNS IN THE PROS
• Louisiana currently has one player – Elfrid Payton (New Orleans Pelicans) – competing in the National Basketball Association.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns have had three players – Andrew Toney (8th pick, 1980, Philadelphia), Kevin Brooks (18th pick, 1991, Milwaukee) and Payton (10th pick, 2014, Philadelphia/Orlando) taken in the first round of the NBA Draft.
• Louisiana has had eight players compete on an NBA roster – Brooks, Payton, Toney, Larry Fogle (New York Knicks), Dwight “Bo” Lamar (Los Angeles Lakers), Shawn Long (Philadelphia), Fred Saunders (Phoenix, Boston, New Orleans Jazz) and Marvin Winkler (Milwaukee).
• Louisiana reached the 100-point mark for the 140th time in school history after its 122-90 win over Prairie View on Dec. 11.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns recorded five 100-point games last season – a 113-58 win over Louisiana College (Nov. 14), a 115-82 victory over Savannah State (Nov. 17), a 105-80 win at Nicholls State (Dec. 1), a 102-91 victory at Georgia Southern (Feb. 10) and a 100-79 win over UT Arlington (Feb. 17).
• In all, UL is 137-3 in games in which it has scored 100 points.
• Under head coach Bob Marlin, Louisiana is 19-0 in games when scoring 100 points or greater.
• During the 2017-18 season, Louisiana had nine players earn starts and have equaled that in 2018-19.
• Players earning starts this season include JaKeenan Gant, Malik Marquetti, Marcus Stroman, Justin Miller, Jerekius Davis, Jeremy Hayes, Cedric Russell, Trajan Wesley and P.J. Hardy.
• Only the following schools have had more players earn starts in 2018-19.
Detroit Mercy 10
Incarnate Word 10
UT Martin 10
Eastern Washington 10
SBC STANDARD BEARERS
• Since the 2013-14 season, Louisiana’s 121 overall wins are the most among current Sun Belt Conference schools.
• During that span, Louisiana (121), Georgia State (120) and UT Arlington (107) are the only SBC schools to record 100 or more overall victories.
TEAMS PLAY FAST UNDER MARLIN
• During Bob Marlin’s 25-year tenure as a head coach, that includes three trips to the NCAA Tournament and a NJCAA national championship, his teams have employed an fast-paced style of basketball that has averaged 78.5 points per game during that span.
• His teams have averaged over 70 points per game 24 of the 25 years.
• The last six Ragin’ Cajuns teams under Marlin have led the Sun Belt Conference in scoring.
• His last five teams has averaged 19th among 351 Division I teams in scoring.
• The 2017-18 edition averaged 83.2 points per game and posting the highest season average since the 1990-91 season.
• Since the 2013-14 season, Louisiana has scored 80 or more points 99 times to rank fifth among Division I schools with North Carolina (116), BYU (113), Gonzaga (110) and Duke (108) ahead.
SEASON TICKETS AVAILABLE
• Season tickets, beginning at $100, are available online at RaginCajuns.com using Account Manager, or by calling the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at (337) 265-2357.
• All current UL faculty and staff, along with recent graduates (within the last five years), can purchase season tickets at a 50-percent discount to cheer on the Ragin’ Cajuns during the 2018-19 season at the Cajundome.
• The special package will allow recent graduates of Louisiana to purchase tickets in sections 101-103. Discounts will be applied upon confirmation of graduate status by the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office.
GET YOUR PASSPORT
• The game against Southern is part of the “Louisiana Passport,” which will recognize Ragin’ Cajuns fans who attend all eight of Louisiana’s scheduled games against in-state opponents during the 2018-19 season.
• Each game, beginning with the Ragin’ Cajuns Nov. 28 game at New Orleans, fans will get their passport stamped at a location to be determined. In-state games for the Ragin’ Cajuns include home games against Southern (Dec. 1), Loyola (Dec. 5), Louisiana Tech (Dec. 15) and ULM (Feb. 16), with additional road games slated against McNeese State (Dec. 18), Southeastern Louisiana (Dec. 29) and ULM (Jan. 19).
• At Louisiana’s game against ULM at the Cajundome on Feb. 16, those who have a completed passport with eight stamps will be recognized on the court at some point during the game.
• For more information on tickets, contact the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at (337) 265-2357. For information concerning parking, contact the RCAF at (337) 851-2903.
CAJUNS CARE TICKET INITIATIVE
• Help Louisiana Athletics continue to give back! After a successful start during the 2018 football season, the Cajuns Care program will allow Ragin’ Cajuns fans the opportunity to purchase Louisiana men’s basketball season tickets for $20.
• Tickets purchased through the Cajuns Care program will be donated to local charitable and philanthropic initiatives, including Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana, the United Way and area military servicemen and servicewomen.
• Fans and supporters of Louisiana men’s basketball can find the option to purchase Cajuns Care season tickets online, by calling the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the Cajundome (337-265-2357) or visiting in-person.
FOLLOW THE CAJUNS
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.