Cajuns’ Pull Away From Troy, 81-69 For Ninth Straight
JaKeenan Gant scored a career high 24 points and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns used a 13-2 run in the second half to pull away from Troy 81-69 for their ninth straight win before 4,865 at the Cajundome Saturday afternoon.
Johnathan Stove and Frank Bartley each scored 18 for the Cajuns (19-3, 9-0 Sun Belt) while Bryce Washington added eleven.
Jordon Varnado paced the Trojans (9-13, 3-6) with 18 points, while B. J. Miller added 17. Freshman Javan Johnson, making his first start of the season, chipped in eleven points while leading scorer Wesley Person was held to ten points.
"They have a good team," Cajuns' head coach Bob Marlin said of the defending tournament champions. "JaKeenan had a great first half shooing for us and we were able to overcome some turnovers."
Leading 64-59 with 9:52 left, the Cajuns started their run. Stove got it started with a layup and Bartley hit a triple to give the Cajuns their first double digit lead of the game. Stove hit another shot inside and a pair of free throws, and after Miller scored inside, Washington hit a layup and Stove got a dunk to put the game away with 3:08 left.
Troy took advantage of some early turnovers by the Cajuns to open up an 11-4 lead before the Cajuns weathered the storm. Louisiana finally took the lead for good on a pair of Bartley free throws with 1:51 left in the half. Gant banked in a three pointer as the first half ended to give Louisiana a 40-36 halftime lead.
Troy shot 49.1% for the game and had three more field goals than the Cajuns. But Louisiana hit two more than Troy from the bonusphere and sank 26-31 free throws, compared to 10-11 for the visitors. Gant's four triples were a career high.
The Cajuns played their second straight game without Justin Miller, sidelined with a head injury. Louisiana will begin a three game road swing next Saturday at ULM.