MONROE – It was only fitting that the school where Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball coach Bob Marlin began his coaching career would be the place he would earn a milestone victory.
Mylik Wilson scored 20 points to lead three players in double figures and Louisiana shot 56 percent from the floor and sank a season-high 14 3-pointers in an 88-72 win over ULM in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
Freshman Ty Harper scored a season-high 19 points, including a 5-for-5 performance from behind the 3-point line, while Theo Akwuba notched 16 points and seven rebounds as Louisiana (14-7, 8-6 Sun Belt) went 30-for-53 (56.6 percent) from the floor and 14-for-22 (63.6 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
The win was a milestone for Marlin, who earned his 117th career victory in Sun Belt Conference play and moved into a tie with former Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis, Jr., for the all-time lead in league history. Marlin, who served as a graduate assistant at then Northeast Louisiana from 1981-83 under coach Mike Vining, improved his SBC record to 117-81 overall.
Louisiana used a 20-5 run midway through the first half to put the game away early as Harper started the run with a jumper. Dou Gueye’s 3-pointer with 12:56 remaining in the first half gave the Ragin’ Cajuns the lead for good, 13-11, before Harper hit the first of three straight 3-pointers that would push the lead to 22-14.
A steal by Wilson resulted in a three-point play that gave Louisiana a 25-14 lead with 10:18 remaining and after a bucket by ULM’s Thomas Howell, Cedric Russell answered with a 3-pointer that would give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 28-16 lead with 9:30 left.
Louisiana kept its balance approach in the first half, finishing 15-for-25 (60.0 percent) from the floor and building a 45-38 lead at the break. Eight of the nine players who played for the Ragin’ Cajuns in the opening 20 minutes reached the scoring column with Harper scoring a team-high 11.
Both teams traded 3-pointers to open the second half before Louisiana responded with a decisive 16-4 run to pull away. A layup by Akuba started a string of seven consecutive points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Wilson adding a pair of free throws and Gueye a wide-open 3-pointer from the right corner for a 55-41 advantage with 16:38 remaining.
ULM (5-16, 3-11 Sun Belt) attempted a comeback behind Russell Harrison, who scored on a dunk and added a layup, but Wilson and Harper each sank 3-pointers in a 10-2 run to put the game out of reach.
Wilson went 6-for-10 from the floor and was 7-for-7 from the free throw line as Louisiana went 14-for-16 from the free throw line and held a 31-21 advantage on the glass. Harper, making his second career start, finished 7-for-9 from the floor and 5-for-5 from long distance for the Ragin’ Cajuns while Akwuba was 6-for-12 from the floor with a pair of blocks.
Jacobi Gordon added nine points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with walk-on freshman Kentrell Garnett adding a season-high eight. Russell, who entered the game ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring at 18.4 points per game, finished 2-for-4 from the floor and finished with six points, three rebounds and a pair of assists for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Harrison scored 17 points to lead ULM, which sank 11 3-pointers in Thursday’s 72-66 win at the Cajundome before going 5-for-18 (27.8 percent) from behind the 3-point arc in the finale. Gonzales added 15 points for the Warhawks with Josh Nicholas coming off the bench to add 10.
Louisiana will return home to close out the home portion of its schedule on Feb. 19-20 against UT Arlington. The series will open on Friday at 6 p.m. with the finale scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m.
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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