LAFAYETTE – Jalen Johnson scored 19 of his career-high 27 points in the first half and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball team put the clamps on in-state opponent ULM in an 81-60 Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at the Cajundome.
Tirus Smith scored all 11 of his points in the second half for Louisiana (8-13, 3-7 Sun Belt), which saw the return of freshman Mylik Wilson for the first time in nearly three weeks along with junior guard Cedric Russell.
Russell scored 10 points for Louisiana, including a pair of second-half 3-pointers, with Wilson scoring nine points in his first game back since scoring a career-high 30 at Appalachian State on Jan. 6. P.J. Hardy came off the bench to add nine points, all from behind the 3-point line, while holding ULM’s Michael Ertel to a quiet 13 points on 4 of 12 shooting.
Louisiana led 30-27 with 2:10 remaining in the first half after ULM (6-13, 2-8 Sun Belt) scored on a bucket by Jalen Hodge and got a jumper and free throw from Johnson and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Mason Aucoin to extend the lead to 36-27 at the break.
The Warhawks opened the second half on a 7-2 run that was capped by a Langton Powell basket with 17:50 remaining, but Hardy would drain a 3-pointer to spark an 11-2 run for Louisiana to push the lead to 49-36.
A dunk by freshman Chris Spenkuch began a 10-0 run for Louisiana that included three-point plays by both Wilson and Smith along with a pair of free throws by Johnson, who finished 7-for-10 from the floor and 10-for-12 from the charity stripe.
Louisiana finished 23-for-52 (44 percent) from the floor and 26-of-32 from the free throw line. Johnson pulled down six rebounds to lead the Ragin’ Cajuns with Russell dishing out four assists.
Tyree White recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead ULM, which dropped its fifth straight contest in Lafayette and seventh in the last eight meetings overall. Hodge added 12 points for the Warhawks, who finished 23-for-60 (38 percent) from the floor, 3-for-16 from behind the 3-point line and 11-for-21 from the charity stripe.
Louisiana will open the second half of Sun Belt Conference action beginning on Thursday when it travels to Arlington, Texas to face UT Arlington in a 7 p.m. contest at College Park Center.
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