MONROE – ULM’s Erie Olonade scored 12 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:29 remaining, and Michael Ertel added six free throws in the final minute as the Warhawks defeated the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, 83-77, in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
Ertel scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half as ULM (9-18, 5-13 Sun Belt) won its third game in the last four contests. Louisiana, which was led by Trajan Wesley’s career-high 16 points, dropped to 11-17 overall and 6-11 in Sun Belt play.
With the teams battling through a second half that featured 13 lead changes and seven ties, neither team led by more than four points after Olonade hit a 3-pointer with 11:45 remaining which cut the Louisiana lead to 55-54.
Louisiana took its lead at 71-70 when Jalen Johnson buried a 3-pointer from the right wing with 3:19 remaining before Ertel answered with a 3-pointer – his only make of the day in six attempts – to put the Warhawks back on top, 73-71.
After Wesley tied the game at 73-all with a pair of free throws with 1:46 left, Olonade snapped the deadlock on the ensuing possession with a 3-pointer from the left corner. Louisiana would miss its next two attempts from the floor, leading to a pair of free throws by Ertel, and the junior would add four more in the final half-minute to seal the win.
Playing without Tirus Smith (suspension), an already short-handed Louisiana squad dressed eight players and used its 12 different starting lineup during the season. The Ragin’ Cajuns struggled early, trailing 28-18 on a 3-pointer by Tyree White with 9:25 remaining before going on a 19-5 run to take its first lead of the day.
Wesley, who finished 5-for-7 from the floor and 2-for-3 from behind the 3-point line, tied the game with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:40 left in the half before his steal and layup on the ensuing possession would give Louisiana its first lead of the day.
The sophomore point guard, playing in his third game after missing the previous 11 due to a concussion, put Louisiana back on top with a driving layup and would find Kristian Lafayette on a short bucket for a 37-33 lead.
ULM added buckets by Ertel and Chris Efretuei knotted the game at 37-all, Lafayette put the Ragin’ Cajuns back on top with a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the key at the 2:00-mark and Louisiana would eventually take a 43-41 lead into the locker room.
White scored 18 points for ULM, which made 11 3-pointers and finished 20-for-25 from the free throw line. Efretuei added 15 points for the Warhawks with Langston Powell adding 11 and six assists.
Johnson scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Louisiana, which went 12-for-31 from long distance but was 7-for-11 from the free throw line. Cedric Russell scored 12 points and grabbed a career-high eight rebounds for the Ragin’ Cajuns with P.J. Hardy adding 11 points and Dou Gueye 10.
Louisiana will return home to host Arkansas State on Wednesday at the Cajundome. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. For ticket information, contact the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the Cajundome, by phone (337) 265-2170 or on-line at RaginCajuns.com/MBBsingle.
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