BOONE, NC — Freshman Mylik Wilson scored 21 of his career-high 30 points in the second half as he led four players in double figures and helped the Louisiana Ragin’s Cajuns to a come-from-behind 81-73 victory over Appalachian State in a Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball game on Monday at the Holmes Convocation Center.
Dou Gueye came off the bench to add 15 points with Jalen Johnson chipping in with 13 and freshman Calvin Temple 12 as Louisiana (7-9, 2-3 Sun Belt) erased a 15-point first-half deficit to win its second straight game. Johnson, the leading scorer for Louisiana who was held scoreless in his last contest, grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to post his third double-double of the season.
The win marked the 103rd for Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin in Sun Belt Conference play, tying him with Dickie Nutt for fourth-place in league history. Marlin, in his 10th season, trails former Middle Tennessee State coach Kermit Davis, Jr., (117 wins), South Alabama’s Ronnie Arrow (112) and UAB legend Gene Bartow (111) in Sun Belt history.
Wilson, who notched his third straight career-high in scoring, finished 10-for-19 from the floor and 4-for-8 from behind the 3-point line as Louisiana went 30-for-64 from the floor and 9-for-26 from behind the 3-point line.
The freshman also grabbed nine rebounds, dished out three assists, tied a career-high with five steals and blocked a shot as Louisiana outscored Appalachian State (9-7, 3-2 Sun Belt), 42-27, in the second half.
App State got off a torrid start from behind the 3-point line making eight of its first 12 attempts and taking a 36-21 lead on a pair of free throws by O’Showen Williams with 7:44 remaining in the first half. The Mountaineers led 46-39 at halftime and 59-54 on a 3-pointer by Justin Forrest with 11:23 left before Louisiana rallied to reclaim the lead.
A three-point play by Gueye with 8:50 left gave Louisiana a 64-61 lead and Wilson beat the shot clock on the Ragin’ Cajuns next possession with a 25-foot, 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down for a 67-61 advantage.
Cedric Russell added a layup after Wilson’s fifth steal of the game for a 69-61 lead at the 7:40 mark before scoring five straight points after Forrest responded with a 3-pointer on the Mountaineers’ next possession.
The Ragin’ Cajuns took a 76-64 lead after Johnson’s putback on a rare Wilson miss with 4:03 left and withstood a late rally by the Mountaineers after 3-pointers by Michael Bibby, Jr., and Adrian Delph.
But Wilson sealed the win for the Ragin’ Cajuns with a pair of free throws and a long-range 3-pointer in the final minute.
Louisiana, playing its third of five games in a nine-day period, held a 40-31 advantage on the glass and scored 19 points off 17 App State turnovers.
Forrest led App State with 21 points with Delph coming off the bench to score 14 and Isaac Johnson 12. The Mountaineers finished 26-for-59 from the floor and 14-for-38 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will return to action on Thursday when it travels to Atlanta to face Georgia State in a 6 p.m. CT contest at the GSU Sports Arena.