Long Leads Cajuns Past Louisiana Tech

LAFAYETTE, La. – Shawn Long put up 24 points and 15 rebounds as one of four Ragin' Cajuns in double figures, and Louisiana scored 55 second-half points to pick up its second win in as many seasons over Louisiana Tech, 94-86, on Wednesday at the Cajundome.

Long was saddled with early foul trouble and did all of his damage in just 24 minutes of court time, picking up his second double-double in as many years against the Bulldogs (7-2). The win was the second straight for the Cajuns (4-4) over LA Tech, marking the first time UL has beaten the Bulldogs in consecutive games since the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

"That was a great team effort by our guys, and I'm really proud of the way we battled on the glass," Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said following the game. "We won a lot of 50-50 balls and I think that shows in the offensive rebound category, and I'm also proud of the way we had 18 assists on 35 made baskets. And we took pretty good care of the ball, for the most part."

While Long provided the inside punch for the Cajuns (4-4), the UL guards provided the outside punch, hitting their first five triples and seven on the night, just days after a 3-for-20 three-point outing on Saturday at McNeese State.

"It was good to hit some threes tonight," Marlin said. "It was big for us to be inside-out, and Steve (Wronkoski) made some big shots. We shot the ball much better than we have, but we knew we were close to breaking out."

Kasey Shepherd, Jay Wright and Wronkoski each had a pair of threes, with each of Wronkoski's coming in the first half to help erase an early nine-point Bulldog lead.

Shepherd continued his solid play, finishing with 16 points, five assists and four steals; meanwhile, Wright played 31 minutes after missing Saturday's game due to illness and turned in a career-high 13 points to go with five rebounds, three assists and three steals with just a single turnover.

Brian Williams fought through early foul trouble to turn in a brilliant second half, scoring all 15 of his points in the final 20 minutes. Devonta Walker pulled in six boards with eight points, and freshman Bryce Washington had seven points, four rebounds and a pair of assists.

In all, the Cajuns owned the glass 42-29 and hauled in a dozen offensive rebounds, outscoring LA Tech 21-5 in second-chance points while also turning in a solid 17-for-24 performance at the foul line.

Louisiana Tech was led by Alex Hamilton's 27 points, with Erik McCree turning in 25 of his own as two of four Bulldogs in double figures.

The Cajuns hit their first five triples of the first half, helping to erase an early 18-9 lead built by the Bulldogs after a 12-0. But Washington calmed the early storm for UL, coming off the bench and putting in a pair of buckets after the Bulldogs' run as part of a 9-2 Cajun spurt that pulled them to within two points at 20-18.

Wronkoski then rained in a pair of threes, each bringing the Cajuns to within a point, before Long began to take over late in the half. After being saddled with two early fouls, Long scored six of the final eight UL points of the period, including a three-point play in the final minute to give the Cajuns a brief 39-38 lead before Hamilton knocked down a contested three just before the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 41-39 lead at the break.

But the second half was almost all Cajuns from the very beginning as UL scored 16 of the half's first 20 points and never surrendered the lead after a layup from Walker less than two minutes into the frame.

UL hit 57.1 percent in the second half and led by as much as 15 points in the final two minutes. The Cajuns got four quick points on a jumper from Williams and then a steal-and-finish from Shepherd to jumpstart a 15-3 run that included three straight buckets from Long and a three from Williams, pushing the lead to 60-46 with less than 13 minutes to play.

Louisiana Tech got to within three points less than four minutes later on a four-point play by Hamilton, but again Louisiana answered with another run, this one a 15-5 spurt capped by a layup from Shepherd with just over five minutes remaining in the game.

Wright then got involved with six points in just over two minutes, including a three-point bucket that all but iced the game with 1:51 left in putting UL up 86-73.

The Ragin' Cajuns will look to run their home winning streak to 11 games on Saturday when they host Centenary. Tip time is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the Cajundome.

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