No Dice, Aggies fall to Louisiana 74-81

The New Mexico State Aggies didn't look like a team that hadn't played in a week early on, but the effects of the layoff became evident later as the Aggies dropped their Sun Belt Conference opener at UL Lafayette 81-74

LAFAYETTE, La. -- The New Mexico State Aggies didn't look like a team that hadn't played in a week early on, but the effects of the layoff became evident later as the Aggies dropped their Sun Belt Conference opener at Louisiana 81-74.

The Aggies led by as many as nine in the first half, but trailed by six at the half and never regained the lead after the break.

New Mexico State falls to 8-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play.Louisiana improved to 8-4 overall and 1-0 in league play. It was the Ragin' Cajuns' 15th consecutive victory at the Cajun Dome and marked the 100th career victory for Louisiana head coach Jessie Evans.

Junior forward James Moore scored 22 points to lead the Aggies, while sophomore point guard Jason Fontenet added 20 points, two short of his career best.

The two combined to make 18 of 27 shots from the floor, but the rest of the team managed to scored just 32 points and made only 13 of 39 shots.

"Both of those guys played well, but after that nobody produced any points," Aggie head coach Lou Henson said. "We've got to get tougher. They just knocked us all over the floor."

Louisiana had five starters in double figures led by Laurie Bridges' 21 points.

The Ragin' Cajuns twice stretched the lead to double figures in the second half, but the Aggies rallied twice to get within striking range.

Louisiana scored nine of the first 13 points of the second half to grab a 49-38 advantage with 16:58 left in the game.

But the Aggies put together a 8-2 run of their own to trim the advantage to 51-46 with 13:52 left in the second half. Moore scored four of the Aggies' eight points with Kelsey Crooks and Allen Haynes each adding a basket.

The Aggies got to within four, 55-51, but again the Ragin' Cajuns responded, this time scoring six consecutive points in the next two minutes to build the lead back up to 10, 61-51.

The lead would grow to 12, 69-57, before the Aggies would rally one last time.

This time the Aggies scored seven consecutive points over the next 1:56 to get to within five, 69-64, with 1:45 remaining.

But the Ragin' Cajuns made eight consecutive free throws to send the Aggies to defeat.

The Ragin' Cajuns played without their second-leading scorer Anthony Johnson, who is averaging nearly 16 points per game, and the Aggies held Louisiana's leading scorer Brad Boyd to just 11 points, eight under his average.

But it didn't slow down the Ragin' Cajun offense as UL shot just under 51 percent from the field and made 17 of 23 free throws. The Aggies shot 47 percent from the floor, but made just nine trips to the free-throw line, sinking seven. The Aggies lost the rebounding battle 33-30 and hit just 5-of-17 3-point attempts.

"We knew exactly what they were going to do and we worked on all that stuff," Henson said. "We played a poor game, but they are one of the best teams in the league, if not the best team. They just keep running people at you. Hopefully we will learn something from tonight."


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