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Cajuns hope to maintain momentum ahead of Little Rock

Louisiana is 3-0 in the Sunbelt conference
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Posted at 11:28 PM, Jan 07, 2022

LAFAYETTE – Following a thrilling 83-77 overtime victory against Arkansas State on Thursday night, Louisiana Men's Basketball returns to the Cajundome at 7 p.m. Saturday to face Little Rock. The game will be available to be streamed live on ESPN+.

Without leading scorer Jordan Brown, Louisiana received a late offensive push from junior Trajan Wesley to force the extra period and Theo Akwuba scored a pair of baskets in overtime to seal the victory.

Akwuba picked up right where he left off last week and totaled 16 points and 15 rebounds in the win.

The Ragin' Cajuns are one of just two teams in the country with two 16+ point and 15+ rebound performers this year as Brown accomplished the feat on Dec. 8 against McNeese.

Thursday's victory improved Louisiana to 3-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2017-18 season.

Junior Greg Williams Jr., freshman Kentrell Garnett, junior Jalen Dalcourt, senior Dou Gueye and freshman Isaiah Richards were all active on Thursday following a two-game absence.

Williams scored 11 points including a clutch bucket in overtime in his return.

The Ragin' Cajuns held the Red Wolves to just 28 percent shooting from beyond the arc. On the season, Louisiana ranks first in the Sun Belt holding opponents to just 27.3 percent from 3-point range.

The Ragin' Cajuns crossed the 80 point threshold for the fifth time this season. Since the 2013-14 season, Louisiana has scored 80+ points 131 times which ranks ninth in the country during the span.

Offensively, the Ragin' Cajuns have displayed an up-tempo style of offense this season and are 24th in the nation with 73.0 possessions per 40 minutes according to KenPom.

Saturday will mark the 60th all-time meeting between the two programs as Louisiana leads the all-time series 33-26. The teams split their four matchups a season ago. The largest margin of victory last season between the teams was just 10 points.

Little Rock enters Saturday at 6-8 on the season and is 1-1 in conference play following an 80-72 loss at ULM. The Trojans are led by Preseason Third Team All-Sun Belt performer Niola Maric who leads the team with 15.6 points per game.

Freshman guard Kentrell Garnett has torched opponents behind the arc this season, the second-year walk-on is fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage at 50.9% and ranks third in the Sun Belt with 2.5 makes per game.

After being held scoreless in the first half of Thursday's contest, Wesley exploded for 12 second-half points including the last six of Louisiana's points at the end of regulation. The junior is averaging 4.4 points and 2.1 assists this season and had a 16 point performance on Dec. 3.

Louisiana's 2021-22 roster features two second-generation talents in Julien and Brown. Julien's father Wayne was with the program from 1976-81 and was a member of 1977 Southland Conference championship team.He finished his career with 1,412 points and 926 rebounds (then second in school history) and helped then-USL to the championship of the 1982 Great Alaskan Shootout where he was named to the All-Tournament team.

Dion Brown lettered for the Ragin' Cajuns from 1980-84 and finished his career as one of the top scorers and rebounders in school history. Brown, a 1984 graduate of UL, earned All-Southland Conference honors in 1982 and was a two-time All-Louisiana selection.

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