LAFAYETTE – Senior guard Cedric Russell recorded his third consecutive 20-point game, scoring a game-high 23 points with four free throws in the final 1:05 and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball team held off a furious second-half rally to defeat in-state rival McNeese State, 75-65, on Saturday at the Cajundome.
Dou Gueye posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds as Louisiana (6-1) won its sixth straight game and posted its first undefeated record in the month of December in the Bob Marlin era. Mylik Wilson added 12 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with freshman Isaiah Richards coming off the bench and scoring a season-high 11 points with seven rebounds.
Louisiana never trailed in the 96th meeting against its I-10 rival, opening the game with a 28-7 run and leading 36-18 at halftime. The Ragin’ Cajuns led 44-24 after Russell scored on a tip-in with 16:33 remaining before McNeese (4-3) mounted a comeback.
Two free throws by KeyShawn Feazell with 8:01 remaining capped a 24-6 run which cut Louisiana’s lead to 50-48, but the Ragin’ Cajuns would score the next eight points and make seven of their final 11 field goal attempts as Devin Butts opened the spurt with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.
Gueye added bucket at the 7:03 mark for a 55-48 lead before Richards made one of two free throws and added a bucket with 5:42 remaining for a 58-48 lead.
Russell, who finished 8-for-14 from the floor with three 3-pointers, recorded his 12th career 20-point game in a Louisiana uniform and moved past JaKeenan Gant, Randell Daigle, Bryant Mbamalu, Johnathan Stove and Frank Bartley into 37th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,096 points.
Louisiana finished 28-for-56 (50 percent) from the floor and was 7-for-18 (39 percent) from behind the 3-point line. The Ragin’ Cajuns overcame a sluggish performance from the free throw line making 12 of 24 attempts with two of their top free throw shooters – Brayan Au (.857) and Theo Akwuba (.826) – going a combined 0-for-8.
Akwuba was held to four points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes, but blocked seven shots for the second straight game for Louisiana. Au posted his second straight seven-assist game for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Gueye tying a season-high with two steals.
Feazell scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead McNeese, which entered the game second nationally among Division I schools in both scoring average (98.5) and assists per game (23.8). Collin Warren came off the bench to score 14 points for the Cowboys, who were 6-for-29 (21 percent) from the floor in the first half against Louisiana before finishing 23-for-63 (37 percent) for the game.
Louisiana will officially open Sun Belt Conference play Jan. 1-2, 2021 against Texas State in a two-game homestand at the Cajundome. The teams will meet on Friday (Jan. 1) in a 6 p.m. contest before wrapping up the weekend series with a 4 p.m. game on Jan. 2.
The games will be streamed live on ESPN+ and broadcast in the Lafayette area on KPEL 96.5 FM.
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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