Jan 13, 2014 11:37 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - Elfrid Payton scored a game-high 21 points to lead three players in double figures and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns led from wire-to-wire for the fifth time this season as they defeated Texas State, 81-58, in a Sun Belt Conference game on Monday at the Cajundome.
Shawn Long added 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Bryant Mbamalu scored a season-high 14 points to lead the Cajuns (11-5, 2-1 Sun Belt) to their third win in the past four games. The Cajuns finished 27-for-48 (56.3 percent) from the floor, including 8-for-14 from behind the 3-point line.
The Cajuns, the top-scoring team in the Sun Belt Conference (85.3 ppg.), opened the game on an 8-2 run and never let Texas State (5-12, 1-3 SBC) get closer than two points (8-6) the rest of the way.
Payton, who finished 8-for-11 from the floor, opened up a 10-2 run with a dunk before a layup by Elridge Moore along with 3-pointers from Mbamalu and Long gave the Cajuns an 18-8 lead. Kevin Brown added a 3-pointer that gave the Cajuns a 21-11 lead with 10:54 remaining in the first half before Payton drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing on the next possession for a 24-11 advantage.
The Cajuns led, 42-26, at halftime before pushing its lead to 48-28 on a jumper in the lane by J.J. Davenport at the 18:17 mark. Louisiana would take its biggest lead of the night, 78-54, when Payton scored on a fastbreak layup with 2:45 remaining.
Long, who scored in double figures in his 25th consecutive game dating back to last season, finished 6-for-12 from the floor and 2-for-3 from long range.
Joel Wright led the Bobcats with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Emani Gant added 12 points. Texas State, in its first season in the Sun Belt Conference after competing in Western Athletic Conference (2012-13) and Southland Conference (1987-2012), finished 23-for-46 from the floor but committed 18 turnovers.
Louisiana will return to action on Thursday when it travels to face South Alabama in a 7:05 p.m. contest at the Mitchell Center. The game can be heard on ESPN 1420 AM and on the internet at www.ragincajuns.com.