Jan 11, 2014 11:41 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - Shawn Long scored seven of his team-high 22 points during a 17-2 run in the first half and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns rebounded from a slow start in the first three minutes to claim a 90-70 victory over UT Arlington in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at the Cajundome.
Kasey Shepherd came off the bench to score 17 points for Louisiana, 10-5, 1-1 Sun Belt) while Elfrid Payton and Xavian Rimmer had 12 points each. The Cajuns, the Sun Belt leader in points per game (84.9) entering the contest, remained unbeaten in seven games at home as they buried nine 3-pointers and finished 31-for-39 from the free throw line.
UTA (6-10, 1-3 Sun Belt) opened the game with a fast break dunk by Brandon Edwards, and led 8-7 after a jumper by Jamal Outler at the 17:01 mark before the Cajuns shifted gears scoring the game's next 14 points. Shepherd opened the run for the Cajuns with a 3-pointer and was followed by a putback by Long added a bucket before back-to-back 3-pointers by Kevin Brown and Shepherd gave Louisiana an 18-8 lead.
Long, who finished 8-for-17 from the floor and added nine rebounds with a career-high seven blocks, added a three-point play and a layup before Payton capped the run with a free throw that gave the Cajuns a 24-10 lead with 11:23 remaining in the first half.
Louisiana led at halftime, 45-27, and used an 11-2 run early in the second half to build a 60-34 cushion against the league's second-highest scoring team (80.1 ppg.). Long converted a three-point play at the 17:19 mark to open the spurt, with Rimmer adding a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer and Bryant Mbamalu capping the run with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 15:12 remaining.
The Cajuns took their biggest lead - 71-44 - when Shepherd sank a pair of free throws with 9:28 remaining before UTA began to chip away at the lead.
UTA, which was led by Lonnie McClanahan's season-high 27 points, got as close as 85-70 when McClanahan sank a pair of free throws with 2:08 left before the Cajuns scored the game's final five points on a bucket by Shepherd and a three-point play by Vieux Kande.
Louisiana finished 25-for-55 (45.5 percent) from the floor in the game, including going 12-for-24 in the second half. The Cajuns finished 9-for-22 from the behind the 3-point line and scored 21 points off 15 UTA turnovers.
Edwards added 10 points for the Mavs, who were held to 24-for-61 (39.3 percent) from the floor and 5-for-20 from long range.
The Cajuns will return to action on Monday when it plays host to Texas State in a game that will be televised by the Sun Belt Network. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Cajundome Ticket Office at (337) 265-2100 or on-line at www.RaginCajuns.com.
GAME NOTES -
Sophomore Shawn Long
• Came off the bench for only the second time in his career, scoring in double figures for the 15th straight game, finishing with 22 points.
• Ranked fifth nationally in rebounding, he added nine boards.
• Blocked a career high 7 shots to move into fifth place on the career blocks list with 112 and from 16th to 10th on the single season chart with 47 blocks this season. Long set his previous high with 6 at ULM last weekend.
Junior Elfrid Payton
• Seven days after registering his first career triple-double, he had another balanced game, scoring 12 points with 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
• Ranked 34th nationally in steals (and first in the Sun Belt), he made 3 thefts to raise his season total to 34. He moved from 8th to sixth on the career list with 150.
• He moved into 35th place on the career scoring chart with 1,055 points.
Junior Xavian Rimmer & Sophomore Kasey Shepherd
• Two of the top three-point shooters in the Sun Belt, they combined to score 29 points with Shepherd scoring 17 and Rimmer 12.
• Shepherd was 3-for-4 from three-point while Zimmer went 2-for-5.
• The duo also combined to go 12-for-12 from the foul line (Rimmer was 6-for-6 and Shepherd 6-for-6).
• This was the 18th meeting between Louisiana and UT Arlington, but the first since 1982, with the Cajuns now owning an 11-7 series lead.
• Louisiana improves to 10-5 on the year (1-1 SBC) while UT Arlington slips to 6-10 (1-3).
• Elridge Moore returned to the lineup after missing the last five games with an ankle injury. Moore's return made the contest the first game all season that all 15 Cajuns were available.
• For the sixth time in seven games, the Cajuns went with a different starting lineup as J.J. Davenport replaced Shawn Long inside, Bryant Mbamalu started for the first time this season in place of Kevin Brown and Moore returned to the starting in place of Steven Wronkoski. Elfrid Payton is the only Louisiana player to start every game.
• After three early lead changes, the Cajuns trailed 8-7 (17:20) before running off 14 straight points to take a 21-8 lead (13:26). UT Arlington pulled no closer than nine the rest of the half (25-16, 9:41) with the Cajuns leading 45-27 at half.
• The Mavericks cut the lead to 17 (49-32, 17:38) but an 8-0 Cajuns run pushed the lead to more than 20 where it stayed until the final four minutes.
• With Long leading the way, the Cajuns set a season-high with 9 blocks. The old high was seven vs. Louisiana College (Nov. 9) and at Louisiana Tech (Dec. 4).
• Louisiana had an edge at the foul line, going 31-for-39 (.795) while UT Arlington