LAFAYETTE (KATC) – JaKeenan Gant scored a game-high 29 points, going 11-for-18 from the floor, and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team scored the first 14 points and never looked back in defeating Coastal Carolina, 83-70, in a Sun Belt Conference game on Thursday at the Cajundome.
Cedric Russell added 14 points for Louisiana (17-11, 8-7 SBC), which remained in a fifth-place tie with ULM in the SBC standings. Marcus Stroman added 13 points, eight assists and five steals for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who shot 54 percent from the floor and held a 31-30 advantage on the glass.
Gant, looking to become the 48th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark in his career, finished 11-for-18 from the floor and 7 of 8 from the free throw line in posting his 13th 20-point game of the season. The 6-foot-8 senior increased his two-year scoring total at Louisiana to 995 points with three regular-season games remaining.
Gant had a pair of dunks and added a pair of free throws in Louisiana’s opening run before Coastal Carolina (13-14, 7-8 SBC) got on the board at the 16:01 mark on a bucket by Tommy Burton.
Louisiana added an 8-0 run midway through the first half as a free throw by Stroman, a layup by Justin Miller, three free throws by Trajan Wesley and a layup by P.J. Hardy took a 28-9 lead with 9:59 remaining in the half.
Russell, who scored in double figures for the third straight game, converted on a three-point play that gave Louisiana a 56-34 lead with 12:21 left before the Chanticleers attempted a comeback.
CCU closed to within 67-60 on freshman Ebrima Dibba’s layup with 6:25 remaining, but Louisiana answered with a 6-0 run on free throws by Gant and Jerekius Davis along with a bucket by Stroman.
DeVante Jones led Coastal with 19 points with Dibba and Tyrell Gumbs-Frater scoring 14 each. The Cajuns held Zac Cuthbertson, CCU’s leading scorer entering the game (18.3 ppg.) to six points – all from the free throw line – while being limited to 0-for-4 from the field.
Louisiana will close out its home schedule on Sunday (March 3) in a 1:30 p.m., Senior Day contest against Appalachian State with Gant, Stroman and Malik Marquetti being honored prior to the game.