Nov 17, 2013 11:44 PM by UL Sports Information
WACO, Texas.- In its second game of the weekend against a major-conference opponent, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns fell to No. 23-ranked Baylor 87-68, at the Ferrell Center on Sunday in a regionally-televised contest.
Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long led the Cajuns (2-2) on offense with 20 and 16 points, respectively. Long battled early foul trouble for the Cajuns, scoring 14 points in the second half, while Payton played the entire game, coming one rebound short of a double-double after grabbing a season-high of nine.
"We had a travel day yesterday and a tough-fought game on Friday night against Arkansas. We played well then and were actually in control of the game for about 36 minutes and let it go at the end," head coach Bob Marlin said. "The score was a little bit misleading kind of like this score might be. We traveled yesterday and Baylor looked like the fresher team today. They looked like they have been off for a few days and that they had their legs under them."
The Cajuns opened the game by hitting three quick 3-point shots from Payton, Steven Wronkoski and Kevin Brown, taking an 11-10 lead with 11:55 remaining before Baylor (3-0) would go on a 6-0 run to take a 16-11 lead and never trail again.
Louisiana was hit early with foul trouble, especially in the post with both Long and J.J. Davenport each picked up three fouls in the first 15 minutes.
"It effects Shawn [Long] for sure because he is a really good player," Marlin said. "I think he is the best inside guy out on the floor that was out there and I think Baylor has a couple of good ones. He is a really talented young man and he got frustrated a little bit today.
"We felt like he was trying to block shots and just not getting the calls. It does affect your team to a certain point because we know we have got to have him in the game if we are going to have a chance to win a game like this."
Baylor closed out the half on a 23-11 run, benefiting from free throws, hitting 8-of-14. Louisiana did not make an attempt from the charity stripe in the first half, after taking a total of 28 first-half free throws in the first three games of the season.
"We didn't get any in the first half and we go on to lose the free throw game by 22 attempts and 14 points," Marlin said. "We have got to do a better job of getting the ball to the free throw line."
The Cajuns came out very aggressive to start the second half, pressing on both sides of the court. It paid off with two quick baskets and the first trips to the free-throw line.
The Cajuns would stay within range to start the half, getting within five points after a jumper from Payton cut the Baylor lead to 43-38 with 14:27 remaining in the game. However, Baylor would pull away, scoring 12 of the next 14 points, and taking a 55-42 lead on a jumper by Kenny Chery with 10:32 remaining
After a 3-pointer by Kasey Shepherd got the Cajuns to within 76-66 with 2:48 remaining, Baylor closed out the game with an 11-2 run that was capped by a dunk by Cory Jefferson in the final minute.
Despite picking up three fouls in the half and adding his fourth early in the second half, Long scored 14 points after halftime for the Cajuns while grabbing six boards. The sophomore finished the game 6-for-12 from the floor, 4-for-4 from the free throw line and grabbed eight rebounds with two steals.
Payton, who dished out a game-high seven assists and added a pair of steals for Louisiana, finished 6-for-19 from the floor and 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Brown chipped in with a career-high nine points for the Cajuns, with Shepherd and Wronkoski adding six each.
Baylor finished the game shooting 27-for-46 (58.7 percent) from the floor and 28-of-36 (77.8 percent) from the free throw line. The Cajuns were held to 23 of 67 aim from the floor while finishing 8-for-25 from behind the 3-point line and 14-for-16 from the free throw line.
The Bears were led by Chery with 20 points, Brady Heslip with 19 and Jefferson had a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
"They played well. I felt Kenny Chery had a really good game. I don't know if he can play better. Brady [Heslip] played well, I told him at the end of the game in the line that he does a nice job of playing in the pace of the game and not rushing it. We helped him by letting him drive to the basket and letting him lay a few in, but he did a nice job."
Louisiana will travel to Conway, S.C., for the remainder of the Maui Inland Invitational, taking on Oakland (Nov. 23) and either Coastal Carolina or St. Francis-Brooklyn (Nov. 24). The Cajuns will return home on Nov. 27 to take on Northwestern State at the Cajundome for their only home game until Dec. 14.