Long tops 1,000 career points
Louisiana-Lafayette’s Shawn Long topped 1,000 points Saturday as the Ragin’ Cajuns defeated Arkansas State, 85-67, in Sun Belt Conference action at the Cajundome.
Long, a Morgan City High School alum, became the 41st player in ULL history to reach 1,000 points and just the fifth sophomore in school annuls to achieve the feat, joining Bo Lamar, Andrew Toney, Kevin Brooks and Jerry Flake.
Long, who finished the game with 16 points, reached 1,001 career points with 15 seconds remaining.
Long and teammate Elfrid Payton, who scored a game-high 22 points, were among four Cajuns in double figures in the victory.
Bryant Mbamalu scored a season-high 19 points for Louisiana-Lafayette (17-9, 8-5 SBC), which won its season-high fifth straight game and moved past Arkansas State (14-9, 7-5 SBC) into third place in the league standings. The Cajuns put the game away in the second half as they shot 59 percent from the floor (19-for-32) in the second half and outscored the Red Wolves in the final 20 minutes, 53-35.
Louisiana-Lafayette was stymied early by an Arkansas State defense that held the Cajuns scoreless for more than six minutes in the first half while building a 15-4 lead. The Red Wolves led 10-4 on a pair of free throws by Kirk Van Slyke before a jumper by Ed Townsel and a 3-pointer by Kendrick Washington gave Arkansas State its biggest lead of the game.
The Cajuns responded with an 11-4 run that cut the lead to 19-15 on a free throw by Long with 7:44 remaining in the first half before a free throw by Mbamalu at the 4:53 mark tied the score at 22.
Mbamalu, who finished 7-for-13 from the floor, gave Louisiana-Lafayette its first lead since early in the first half when he drained a 3-pointer for a 38-37 advantage with 18:17 remaining in the game. Both teams would trade baskets before a layup by Mbamalu gave the Cajuns the lead for good at 42-41 with 17:05 remaining.
That sparked a 15-0 run for the Cajuns, who built a 55-41 lead with 13:55 remaining and never let Arkansas State get within eight points the rest of the way. Payton added a layup and free throw for the Cajuns for a 45-41 lead before Long connected on a 3-pointer, and Mbamalu scored on a layup and hit a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 53-41.
Arkansas State closed the gap to 72-64 when Brandon Reed converted on a three-point play, but the Cajuns closed out the game on a 13-3 run to seal the win.
Louisiana-Lafayette, the top-scoring team in the Sun Belt Conference, finished 31-for-59 (52.5 percent) from the floor and 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) from behind the 3-point line. J.J. Davenport added 13 points and six rebounds for the Cajuns, who dominated the boards with a 40-23 advantage.
Long, who finished 6-for-11 from the floor and blocked three shots and added a pair of steals, grabbed 11 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season and 32nd of his career.
Washington and Melvin Johnson III scored 19 points each to lead Arkansas State, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. Townsel added 13 points for the Red Wolves, who finished 21-for-51 from the floor (41.2 percent) and 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) from behind the 3-point line.