SAN MARCOS, Texas – Devin Butts scored 18 points, including his steal and layup with 0.4 seconds remaining and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball won its fifth straight game with a dramatic 74-73 thriller against Texas State in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at Strahan Arena.
Cedric Russell scored 24 points for Louisiana (13-4, 7-3 Sun Belt), including a 6-for-9 performance from behind the 3-point line, and nearly scored the go-ahead in the final seconds before being called for an offensive foul with 3.4 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Texas State’s Caleb Asberry had the ball slip through his hands and into the hands of Butts, who scored on a high-arching shot over the outstretched hands of Isiah Small for the eventual game-winner.
The Bobcats’ following inbounds pass down the length of the court was picked off by Theo Akwuba and helping Louisiana earn its third straight win by three points or less for the first time since defeating UT Pan American (56-54), New Orleans (64-61) and ULM (72-71) during the 1983-84 season.
The win, which featured 12 ties and 12 lead changes, moved Louisiana into first place in the SBC West Division.
Behind a season-high 57 percent performance from the floor, finishing 28-for-49 overall, Louisiana matched its season-high from behind the 3-point line going 11-for-17. Butts, who went 6-for-12 against Texas State in the SBC opener for both teams on Jan. 1, finished 4-for-5 from long range for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Dou Gueye sinking a 3-pointer for the second straight game.
Louisiana built its largest lead of the game – 17-10 – after a pair of free throws by Butts with 12:23 remaining in the first half before Texas State methodically chipped away at the lead. Asberry, who finished with 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting, capped an 18-8 run for the Bobcats when his 3-pointer at the 5:48 mark gave Texas State its first lead of the afternoon at 28-25.
The Bobcats would increase their lead to 32-28 on Mason Harrell’s jumper with 4:36 left in the half before Louisiana would force a 32-32 deadlock after a bucket by Russell and a pair of free throws by Brayan Au at the 2:08 mark.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Butts and Russell would answer a bucket by Texas State’s Nighael Ceaser at the 1:50 mark and Louisiana would take a 38-35 lead into intermission.
Harrell, who scored a career-high 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting, gave Texas State its largest lead of the game at 45-40 with 17:53 remaining in the game before buckets by Akwuba, Mylik Wilson and a 3-pointer by Russell would help Louisiana regain the lead.
Texas State led 71-67 on Shelby Adams layup with 4:12 remaining before a 3-pointer by Butts at the 2:14 mark and a layup by Wilson with 1:30 left put Louisiana ahead again, 72-71.
Harrell helped Texas State regain the lead with a pair of free throws with 29 seconds remaining and eventually forced the charge after Russell’s first attempt at the rim missed and was rebounded by Wilson.
Au added eight points and dished out six assists for Louisiana while Gueye finished with seven points. Small added 12 points for Texas State, which finished 28-for-61 (45.9 percent) from the floor and 5-for-11 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will return to action beginning on Friday when it travels to Jonesboro, Ark., to face Arkansas State in a two-game series on Feb. 5-6. After facing A-State, Louisiana will return home to host in-state foe ULM at the Cajundome on Feb. 11.
Season-ticket holders can download their tickets through mobile ticketing from Ticketmaster. Fans can download the #GeauxCajuns app to their smart phone to begin the process. Season-ticket holders who are unable to download tickets or wish to have printed can visit the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the Cajundome to have them printed.For more information on Men's Basketball tickets, fans can call the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at (337) 265-2170.The Cajundome will operate at a significantly reduced capacity for the 2020-21 season (unless state COVID-19 policy changes during the season). This will allow for fans and University students to be accommodated this season. The Department of Athletics will quickly communicate any schedule adjustments or changes to attendance protocols through its social media channels and RaginCajuns.com.In the interest of public safety and following the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) Best Practices Guide, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Athletics Department is implementing a clear bag policy at all venues that host ticketed events effective with the 2020-21 competition season. Information about the clear bag policy can be found by visiting www.RaginCajuns.com/clearbag [ragincajuns.com].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.
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