Louisiana Men’s Basketball Second Half Comeback Comes Up Short at Troy
TROY, Alabama– Trailing by as many as nine in the second half the Louisiana men's basketball team's comeback attempt came up short at Troy Wednesday night. The Cajuns held the lead in the final three minutes but couldn't hold onto the lead in the 79-73 final.
Kobe Julien found his form, after struggling to start Sun Belt Conference action, scoring a team-leading 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Hosana Kitenge added 13 points and matched a career-high nine rebounds. Themus Fulks went 6-of-10 from the field for 13 points along with four assists. Freshman Brandon Hardy provided a spark off the bench with 12 points, scoring 10 in the second half.
The Cajuns (8-8, 1-3 SBC) were the ones to get out to a fast start on the conference-leading Trojans (10-6, 4-0 SBC). Kitenge put them up early with a pair of layups to go up 4-0. After trading points, baskets by Julien and Kentrell Garnett pushed Louisiana ahead 16-10. The home side answered with a 7-0 run to flip the lead in their favor at 17-16.
Neither side could gain momentum and stayed within a possession of each other for a five-and-a-half minute stretch before a 5-0 Troy run gave them a little wiggle room. The Cajuns got the score back within three, but the Trojans scored six of the last eight of the half to lead 37-30 heading into the locker rooms.
After giving up a basket to start the half, the Cajuns made a run to get back in the ball game. Julien hit a three and Fulks followed with a pair of layups to get back within two at 39-37. Fulks had the only Cajun bucket as the Trojans went on a 9-2 run to stretch the lead back to nine.
The Cajuns refused to go away. Hardy had a personal 5-0 run, after a pair of Michael Thomas free throws, and brought the Cajuns to back within two at 52-50. Two minutes later Kitenge hit two free throws and put Louisiana on top 54-53.
Hardy had another layup and stretched the lead to three but the home side answered again with a 7-0 run. Louisiana battled back into the game again and took the lead off a Joe Charles tip-in with 2:43 to go, but a 10-2 run put Troy ahead for good down the stretch.
The Cajuns head to Arkansas State for the second game of a four-game road swing on Saturday. Tip-off off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in Jonesboro.
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Gallery Credit: Scott Prather