Cajuns Wear Down Wildcats In 85-57 Win

LAFAYETTE, La. – The Ragin' Cajuns put 12 players in the scoring column and dominated the glass in the second half, picking up an 85-57 win over Louisiana College on Friday night at the Cajundome in the season opener for both teams.

Devonta Walker led the Cajuns (1-0) with 20 points and seven rebounds, with the win serving as the fourth straight season-opening victory for UL and the second straight over the Wildcats (0-1).

Louisiana dominated the Wildcats on the glass and off the bench on the night, out-rebounding LC 46-24, including 30-10 in the second half and holding a massive 38-5 edge in bench scoring.

"The second half was much nicer than the first half," Louisiana head coach Marlin said following the game. "We turned it over too much, didn't block out and didn't do the things we needed to do against a good, experienced team that brought back five starters from last year."

The Wildcats hit just 39.6 percent from the floor and were held to just six points in the final 7:07 of game time as the Cajuns outscored them 22-6 in that span. The 57 points scored by LC was the lowest output by a Cajun opponent in a season opener since Southern Miss scored the same number in a 57-51 win to start the 1998-99 season.

Walker hit seven of his eight shots on the night, doing most of his damage in the second half after scoring just three points in the opening 20 minutes. Fellow newcomers Brian Williams and Johnathan Stove joined in him in double figures, each with 11 points.

Williams filled up the stat sheet, adding five boards, three steals and a pair of blocks to his totals. Stove added three rebounds and two assists without a turnover in 18 minutes off the bench, and but was just one of many contributors with Marlin allowing just three players to net 20 minutes of court time.

Shawn Long and Bryce Washington also each had eight points in the opener, and the balanced scoring helped the Cajuns overcome a difficult night at the foul line that saw them hit just 19 of 34 tries in addition to making just four of 16 attempts from beyond the arc.

Jay Wright got the start at point guard and picked up six points and six assists in 17 minutes, while Kasey Shepherd and Tiremone Williams also saw time at the one. Williams turned in a good showing in 16 minutes off the bench, scoring three points with a pair of assists and no turnovers, while Shepherd connected on two of his four shots from the floor for five points, including UL's only three-point bucket in the first half.

The Wildcats put four of their five starters in double figures, led by Anthony Gaines, Jr.'s 15, but saw just two other players crack the soring column.

It took the Cajuns just over 10 minutes to build up a 22-12 lead on a short jumper from Brian Williams midway through the half before a layup from Long doubled up the Wildcats at 24-12 to cap a 9-2 run.

But the Wildcats nearly made up the entire deficit before the end of the half as Shepherd's triple was the only field goal for UL for nearly seven minutes, allowing LC to go on a 16-5 run that cut the lead to just 29-28 before a three-point play from Stove at the 1:31 mark of the half.

Stove added another bucket just before halftime as the Cajuns scored the final six points of the period to take a 35-28 lead into the break.

The Wildcats raced out of the gate in the second half, scoring the first six points of the period before Walker started heating up. The junior answered the Wildcats' six-point burst with a six-point burst of his own on two layups and a dunk, and after a three from Stove the Cajuns had stretched the lead back to 44-37 after just four minutes.

Louisiana continued to stretch out the lead over the next six minutes, pushing it to 15 on a three from Steven Wronkoski just after the 10-minute mark of the half. The lead got over 20 on another layup from Walker with less than four minutes to play as part of another spurt of three straight buckets.

The Cajuns will now hit the road for four straight games away from home, starting Monday night at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa when they travel to take on the Golden Hurricane.

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