LAFAYETTE (KATC) – Ronshad Shabazz scored 20 points to lead five players in double figures and Appalachian State used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to pull away and eventually hold off the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, 90-80, in a Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball game on Sunday at the Cajundome.
Hunter Seacat added 16 points, going 7-for-11 from the floor, and App State (10-19, 5-11 SBC) swept the season series for the first time against Louisiana (17-12, 8-8 SBC) after dropping the first eight contests in the series.
Louisiana took its last lead of the game, 9-8, on a putback dunk by JaKeenan Gant before a pair of buckets by Tyrell Johnson, including his basket at the 13:53 mark, gave App State the lead for good. The Mountaineers extended their lead to 23-13 on a 3-pointer by Shabazz with 10:47 left in the half before Louisiana chipped away at the lead.
A 3-pointer by Gant, who became the 48th player to reach the 1,000-point mark in his Louisiana career, and a pair of buckets by Marcus Stroman fueled a 7-0 run for the Ragin’ Cajuns, cutting the App State lead to 36-34 with 2:08 left in the half.
Louisiana trailed 41-37 at halftime and got as close as 48-45 on a 3-pointer by P.J. Hardy with 15:42 remaining, but the Mountaineers responded with a 6-0 run that was capped by a Shabazz 3-pointer.
App State’s Bennett Holley answered a bucket by Louisiana’s Jerekius Davis with a 3-pointer that began a 10-0 run for the Mountaineers. Shabazz added a pair of free throws, Adrian Delph drained a 3-pointer and Isaac Johnson added a bucket that turned a 58-52 lead into a 68-52 cushion with 8:28 left.
Tyrell Johnson came off the bench to score 15 points for the Mountaineers with Justin Forrest scoring 13 on 9 of 12 shooting from the free throw line. Isaac Johnson added 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds for App State.
Gant, one of three seniors making their final home appearance for Louisiana, led all players with 23 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out with 4:12 left. Hardy added 16 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Cedric Russell chipping in with 14 and Trajan Wesley 11.
Louisiana will close out the regular-season beginning Thursday when it travels to face Little Rock at the Jack Stephens Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The Ragin’ Cajuns will then close out the regular-season on Saturday (March 9) against Arkansas State in a 4 p.m., tipoff from Jonesboro, Ark.
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