LAFAYETTE – Markquis Nowell scored eight of Little Rock’s final 13 points, converting on a game-tying, three-point play late in regulation before following with a 3-pointer in the final minute of overtime to lift Little Rock to a 78-76 win over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in the finale of a two-game Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball series at the Cajundome.
Theo Akwuba and Cedric Russell each scored 17 points for Louisiana (8-3, 2-2 Sun Belt), which placed five players in double figures and played its second overtime contest in the past eight days. Brayan Au scored 11 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Dou Gueye and Mylik Wilson adding 10 each.
Louisiana led 42-32 at halftime before Little Rock (7-4, 3-1 Sun Belt) chipped away at the lead, eventually taking a 49-48 lead on Ben Coupet’s bucket in the lane with 14:08 remaining. From there, neither team led by more than three points for the remainder of regulation as Louisiana held on to a 68-65 lead on Wilson’s jumper with 1:42 left.
Nowell, who finished with 15 points on 5 of 15 shooting, grabbed a contested jumper by Wilson in the final minute of regulation and converted a three-point play with 42.6 seconds remaining to tie the game at 68-68. Nowell then knocked away a ball from Russell on the Ragin’ Cajuns next possession and eventually missed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Louisiana took a 71-70 lead with 3:32 left in overtime on a pair of Wilson free throws before Nikola Maric gave the Trojans the lead for good (73-71) with a three-point play with 3:17 left.
After Little Rock pushed its lead to 75-71 on two free throws by Ruot Monyyong with 1:41 left, Russell buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the deficit to 75-74 with 1:18 remaining.
Nowell then followed with a 3-pointer – only the second of the day in 16 attempts – with under a minute remaining for a 78-74 lead.
Monyyong posted a double-double for Little Rock with 19 points and 16 rebounds with Isaiah Palermo adding 17 points and Maric 12. The Trojans finished 27-for-63 (42.9 percent) from the floor and were 22-for-30 (73.3 percent) from the free throw line compared to a 10-for-12 performance at the line by Louisiana.
Akwuba pulled down 10 rebounds and added five blocks to lead Louisiana with Russell (4-for-7) and Au (3-for-4) going a combined 7-for-11 from behind the 3-point line. The Ragin’ Cajuns finished 29-for-62 (46.8 percent) from the floor and were 8-for-19 (42.1 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will return to action beginning Friday (Jan. 15-16) when it travels to Arlington, Texas to face UT Arlington in a two-game series at College Park Center. Friday’s opener – the first of six games on the road in an eight-game span – will begin at 6 p.m. with the finale scheduled for Saturday at 4.
Both games will be streamed live on ESPN+ and broadcast in the Lafayette area on KPEL 96.5 FM. After facing UTA, Louisiana will return home to host Arkansas State in a two-game series Jan. 22-23 at the Cajundome.
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].
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