Cajuns Knock Off UTA, 81-70

ARLINGTON, Texas – Hayward Register connected on five first-half threes and Shawn Long went for 21 points and 15 rebounds as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 81-70 win over UT Arlington on Saturday night at the College Park Center.

The Cajuns (16-12, 10-7 SBC) won their third straight game behind not only Register and Long, but a near triple-double from point guard Jay Wright who finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists on the night.

Just two days after its best defensive performance of the season against Texas State, the Cajuns carried that over to Saturday night, holding the Mavericks (15-11, 9-7 SBC) to just 5-for-29 shooting in the first half and 33.8 percent for the game.

Louisiana finished the night shooting 49.1 percent from the field and hit eight three-point buckets, needing all of them to negate a tough 15-for-29 night from the foul line. The Mavs, on the other hand, finished 21-for-29 from the line but were just 5-for-9 in the second half.

Kasey Shepherd also finished with 11 points for the Cajuns, while Bryce Washington and Johnathan Stove had seven apiece.

Erick Neal and Jamel Outler led UTA with 16 points each as two of four Mavericks in double figures.

Register caught fire right from the gate in the opening half, hitting his first four tries from behind the line, and 5-for-6 for the half. As a whole the Cajuns shot 58.3 percent for the half and led by as much as 16 points; however, 11 turnovers and a 16-for-20 half at the foul line kept the Mavs within striking distance.

UT Arlington was just 5-for-29 (17.2 percent) shooting in the period, including 1-for-10 from three-point range in the half.

Louisiana started off the game on an 11-2 run, getting three triples from Register in that span, and the UL defense allowed just one made UTA field goal in the first nine minutes. Bryce Washington banked in a three with 7:24 to go until halftime to up the lead to 25-9, but the Mavs got their next six points at the foul line and got 12 made foul shots in the final 6:35 to go into the locker room down just 40-27.

The second half saw Long go to work, going for 18 points and 12 boards in the final 20 minutes alone. A 7-0 run just after the midway point of the half got the lead up to as much as 19 at 62-43 on a tough layup from Devonta Walker.

But the Mavs responded with a 9-2 run of their own before Long connected on his lone three-point basket of the night to push the lead back to 15 with 7:25 to play.

From there the Cajuns kept the lead at double digits until a three-pointer from Greg Gainey in the game's final minute narrowed the game to nine, but no closer.

Louisiana will now get a week off before returning home on Feb. 28 against Georgia Southern.


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