The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns basketball team put up a valiant second-half effort, but their comeback attempt fell short in a 71-56 loss on the road to the #14 Houston Cougars.

The Cajuns are now 5-5 in 2021. Head coach Bob Marlin was pleased with his team's defense against the nationally ranked Cougars.

"I thought our defense was really good all night," Marlin said. "We just got beat on the glass and didn't make timely shots."

Louisiana got off to a poor start offensively with four early turnovers and no made field goals through their first four shot attempts. Cajuns forward Dou Gueye broke that streak with a three-pointer, and forward Kobe Julien tied the game at 6-6 with his own three.

Houston out-rebounded the Cajuns 13-5 in the first eight minutes. The Cougars had seven offensive rebounds and took control with a 15-8 lead after Louisiana went on a three-minute scoreless streak.

A pair of dunks by Cajuns forward Jordan Brown brought the game back within five points.

Houston started to pull away with a 6-0 run midway through the first half, but a three by forward Joe Charles got the score to 23-15.

The Cougars scored seven straight before guard Kentrell Garnett hit Louisiana's fourth three-pointer of the first half.

After the Cajuns brought the game to single-digits, Houston closed out the first half on an 11-2 run. Louisiana trailed the Cougars 41-23 at halftime.

A few statistics stood out in the first half. Houston out-rebounded Louisiana 25-15. With 13 offensive rebounds, the Cougars had 10 more shot attempts than the Cajuns. Louisiana was 8-26 from the field and 5-12 from three-point range while Houston went 17-36 but made only one of their 11 threes.

The turnover issues continued to plague Louisiana. The Cajuns had 12 first half turnovers, and Houston had four. The Cougars dominated inside, scoring 30 points in the paint to Louisiana's six.

They had a deep hole to begin digging out of, but the Cajuns offense looked better to start the second half. Brown helped Louisiana cut Houston's lead to 46-32.

Three straight missed free throws prevented the Cajuns from getting the margin to single digits, but they got the game down to 53-42.

Charles followed up another missed free throw with a put-back to bring the Cajuns within 10 points. Garnett's fourth three-pointer on the next possession turned the 18-point halftime deficit to seven points with eight minutes left. However, this was the closest Louisiana would get.

After Garnett's three, Louisiana had multiple chances to dig even further into the lead, but they missed seven straight shots. Houston's 6-0 run stretched the lead back out to 65-52.

The Cougars closed the game out on a 12-4 run and won 71-56. Louisiana's comeback attempt simply ran out of gas.

Brown finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and six blocks. The only other player that scored in double figures was Garnett who had 12 points on 4-7 shooting from three-point range.

Louisiana had 19 total turnovers in the game, but Marlin gave credit to Houston's defense.

"We turned it over too much in the first half, but the Cougars are great defensively," Marlin said.

Up next, Louisiana comes home to face Dillard on Monday, Dec. 20 at 7:00 p.m.

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