LAFAYETTE – Jalen Johnson notched his second double-double of the season, posting a career-high 26 points with 10 rebounds, and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball team shot a season-high 57 percent from the floor in defeating Southeastern Louisiana, 98-81, on Tuesday at the Cajundome.
Cedric Russell added 16 points with Kobe Julien scoring 12 as Louisiana (5-3) erased an early 14-point deficit outscoring SLU (2-6), 19-4, over the final 6:10 of the first half to lead 43-42 at the break. Tirus Smith came off the bench to score 11 points while grabbing a season-high seven rebounds while P.J. Hardy added 10 points, including three 3-pointers.
The Lions opened the game with a 12-2 run, capitalizing on five Ragin’ Cajuns turnovers while making six of their first seven attempts from the floor. Louisiana would settle down as Johnson would drain a 3-pointer and Julien would follow with a three-point play to cut the SLU lead to 12-8.
SLU would hold off the Ragin’ Cajuns and eventually build their lead to 38-24 after a bucket by Byron Smith at the 6:30 mark of the first half. But the Lions would go scoreless for the next five minutes as Louisiana would take a 39-38 lead on Julien’s bucket with 2:37 remaining in the half.
Louisiana, which finished 32-for-56 (57.1 percent) from the floor, opened the second half with baskets by Johnson and Julien and forcing SLU into a quick timeout.
The Lions would get as close as 55-52 on a basket by Ty Brewer with 15:44 remaining, but Louisiana would go on an 11-0 run, with a three-point play by Smith giving the Ragin’ Cajuns a 64-52 lead.
Louisiana held a decisive 41-27 advantage on the glass while committing four turnovers in the second half after posting 15 in the first 20 minutes.
Johnson, whose previous career-best (24) came two years ago while playing for Saint Louis University, finished 10-for-14 from the floor for the Ragin’ Cajuns and 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point line. Julien notched career-bests in both assists (7) and steals (4) for Louisiana while Dou Gueye dished out a season-best five assists.
Brewer scored 17 of his team-high 23 points for SLU, which went 17-for-34 from the floor in the first half before going 13-for-34 (38.2 percent) in the second. Freshman Nick Caldwell scored 16 points for the Lions, who dropped all four games on a roadtrip that began at Tulsa on Nov. 20.
Jeremiah Saunders added 12 points – all from behind the 3-point line – for SLU with Brewer grabbing a team-high seven rebounds.
Louisiana will head back out on the road for its next three games before hosting Little Rock in the Sun Belt Conference home opener on Dec. 21. The Ragin’ Cajuns will open the trip on Saturday at Arizona State before traveling to face Louisiana Tech (Dec. 14) and Arkansas State (Dec. 18) in the Sun Belt Conference opener.
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.