Little Rock Stuns Cajuns in Home Finale, 72-61
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns saw their dreams of an undefeated season in the Cajundome come to an end Saturday night, dropping an overtime decision to last place Little Rock, 72-61 before 5,275 fans at the Cajundome.
"We got what we deserved," head coach Bob Marlin said. "We threw the ball away early, we made too many bad passes and we settled for too many threes. We had more turnovers than field goals in the first half and it cost us."
Ryan Pippins hit a three point basket with :13 left to give Little Rock a two point lead in regulation then scored ten more points in the overtime period to lead the Trojans (7-24, 4-14 Sun Belt) to the victory
Malik Marquetti made a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds left to force the extra period, but Kris Bankston opened the extra stanza with a dunk, and Pippins hit a triple to give the Trojans a five point lead. Frank Bartley answered with a three for the Cajuns, and after Oliver Black and Marquetti each made two free throws, Pippins hit another from beyond the arc. Bryce Washington made a three point play to trim the lead to two with 1:51 left, but Jaizec Lottie scored on a layup and Pippins made another layup to make it a six point game with a minute left and the Cajuns never scored again.
Black had a double double for the Trojans with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Bankston added 14 and Cameron Corcoran chipped in ten. Bartley and JaKeenan Gant had 17 each for the Cajuns, who shot just 32.8 percent for the game.
Both teams struggled to score early in the game, but the Cajuns (26-5, 16-2 Sun Belt) led 18-10 after a Gant jumper but Little Rock went on a 12-0 run to take a 22-18 lead with 1:10 left in the half. Bartley made a three pointer with :03 left to tie the game at intermission.
The Trojans led by a 32-29 count with 16:01 to play, but the Cajuns then went on a 13-0 run over. Gant hit a triple, Larenz Stalcup made a short jumper, Bartley hit two consecutive threes and a pair of free throws and Gant slammed home an alley oop to give the Cajuns a 42-32 lead with 10:53 remaining.
It was 48-39 with 6:41 left, but Black and Bankston led a 10-1 run that got the Trojans within one with 2:31 to play. Marcus Stroman made a layup, but Glilmore answered with :57 left before Pippins gave the Trojans the lead.
The Cajuns were led on the boards by Washington with 14, but only outrebounded Little Rock by one, 39-38. The Cajuns were also an uncharacteristic 17-26 from the free throw line, including just 9-17 in the second half. The Cajuns turned the ball over 16 times to just 12 for the visitors.
The Cajuns will play in the Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinals Friday at 11:30 against the winner of Wednesday's game between #8 Coastal Carolina and #9 Texas State.