Cajuns Handle Paladins 80-72, Advance To CIT Quarterfinals
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun basketball team never trailed the Furman Paladins, earning an impressive 80-72 road win in the 2nd round of the CIT (collegeinsider.com tournament).
Kasey Shepherd led the Cajuns with 18 points, who surpassed 1,000 for his collegiate career. He's the 43rd player in school history to hit the century mark.
“He was aggressive," said head coach Bob Marlin. "I’m happy for Kasey for reaching 1,000.”
Jay Wright and Devonta Walker each finished with 17.
“It was a team effort," Marlin said. "The first half, a bunch of players came out and hit some big shots.”
Furman has reached the charity stripe often this season, and Saturday was no different. However, they struggled when they got there, going 12-24 for 50%.
Conversely, the Cajuns shot 71% at the free throw line, making 20-28 attempts.
Both teams were aggressive on defense, but Louisiana's defensive pressure showed in the state line. The Cajuns finished with 8 steals, scoring 11 points off Paladin turnovers.
“Our athleticism and depth showed," noted Marlin. "We made some big plays and had some really big steals.”
Cajuns big man Shawn Long struggled with foul trouble, playing less than 21 minutes. He still chipped in 10 points and 4 rebounds, while his teammates helped Louisiana maintain a double-digit lead for the majority of the game.
“I’m just really proud of our guys," said Marlin. "They (Furman) never got it to below double-figures until there was 1:09 to go.”
The victory marks the 2nd consecutive season UL has advanced to the CIT quarterfinals. Last season, their run ended in a home loss at Blackham Coliseum to the eventual CIT champion Evansville.
The next opponent is unknown at this time, but Louisiana will play their CIT quarterfinal game at the Cajundome on Wednesday.