LAFAYETTE – A nine-point scoring outburst by redshirt junior Kobe Julien in the final seven minutes propelled Louisiana Basketball past Southern Miss., 66-45 Friday night at Reed Green Arena.
Lafayette native Greg Williams, Jr. led the offensive effort with 18 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Newcomer Jordan Brown fell just short of a double-double with 11 points, nine rebounds and an assist.
Julien finished the night with 10 points and added an assist.
Junior Theo Akwuba also encroached on a double-double with 9 points and eight rebounds.
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm following the opening tip. After a game-opening basket from Akwuba, Louisiana could not find the bottom of the net for nearly four minutes, but still held a one-point lead after junior Jalen Dalcourt connected on a 3-pointer.
The Golden Eagles gained a five-point advantage, their largest of the night and led 17-12 with just under nine minutes remaining in the first half.
The teams battled back and forth in the following possessions until Louisiana found a small offensive burst and strung together a 7-0 scoring run before the break that was capped off by a slicing layup by Williams, Jr with two seconds remaining. The run gave Louisiana a 29-23 lead to begin the second half.
Clinging to a four-point advantage five minutes into the second half, Brown went on a personal 7-0 run, but it was quickly answered with a 9-0 run Southern Miss that knocked the lead down to two and appeared to swing the momentum.
However, after struggling for most of the night, the Ragin’ Cajuns found their range late, converting five 3-pointers in the final six minutes to put the game out of reach.
Julien accounted for three of the shots from deep, Kentrell Garnett buried one from the corner, his second of the night and Williams Jr. hit a pair including a dagger with thirty-nine seconds remaining to equal the final scoring margin.
Louisiana will return home to face Xavier (La.) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Cajundome. The game will be available to be live streamed on ESPN+.
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