LAFAYETTE – Jalen Johnson finally made his long-awaited debut with the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball team, scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds, as five players scored in double figures in a 95-67 victory over Loyola of New Orleans on Tuesday at the Cajundome.
Newcomer Dou Gueye and redshirt freshman Kobe Julien added 15 points each as Louisiana (1-0) never trailed after Trajan Wesley’s bucket with 16:43 remaining in the first half and built a 44-30 lead at halftime.
The win for Louisiana, which improved to 28-7 in openers at the Cajundome, marked the 400th career victory for head coach Bob Marlin as a Division I head coach. Marlin, in his 10th season at Louisiana, became the 35th active coach to reach the 400-win mark and improved to 400-255 in his 22nd year at the Division I level and 523-290 overall.
Johnson, who sat out last season after transferring from Saint Louis University, finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 3-for-5 from behind the 3-point line as Louisiana finished 37-for-69 (53.6 percent) for the game. Gueye, who also grabbed nine rebounds to pace Louisiana, was 6-for-10 from the floor with a 3-pointer, with Julien going 6-for-12 from the field with six boards.
Louisiana held a decisive 51-28 advantage on the glass with freshman Chris Spenkuch grabbing seven boards in his debut with Cedric Russell, Mylik Wilson and Kristian Lafayette each hauling down four.
Russell and Wilson each scored 11 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who outscored Loyola, 51-37, in the second half and held a 21-4 advantage in second chance points. All 10 players who dressed in the contest for Louisiana reached the scoring column, capped by freshman Calvin Temple’s bucket with 1:56 remaining that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns an 89-59 lead.
Loyola, ranked No. 17 in the NAIA national poll and averaging 119 points in its first three games, received a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds from Terry Smith, Jr. The Wolf Pack finished 25-for-65 (38.5 percent) from the floor and 8-for-22 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will return to action on Saturday when it entertains McNeese in the 95th meeting between the I-10 rivals. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and will be available on ESPN+.
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.