BOONE, N.C. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns put together one of their most complete games of the season and moved to 3-0 in Sun Belt Conference play for the first time since the 2007-08 season with a 80-64 win over Appalachian State at the Holmes Center on Monday night.
The win also marked the 300th career victory for Cajun head coach Bob Marlin, accounting for his wins at both Louisiana and his previous head coaching stop at Sam Houston State.
“This was a good one to win, and it takes a lot of good assistant coaches to help get to that total,” Marlin said following the game. “I don’t think Appalachian State was at their best tonight, and I thought we were pretty good in the first half.”
In its fist meeting with the Mountaineers (4-7, 1-1 SBC) as members of the Sun Belt Conference, it was the Cajuns who dominated the paint 48-36 and shot 51.7 percent from the field to move to 3-0 all-time against Appalachian State.
Washington just missed a double-double, pulling in eight rebounds, dishing out three assists and blocking a pair of shots in a breakout performance. Meanwhile, Williams hit six of his eight shots from the field and had three steals, and Kasey Shepherd added 13 points and three steals as well.
“We really shared the ball well tonight and I thought Bryce (Washington) was the best player on the floor tonight, no question,” Marlin said.
Long, who had just been SBC Player of the Week hours before tipoff, finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, rejecting three shots and doling out a career-best four assists.
In all, the Cajuns handed out 18 total assists with just 13 turnovers – five in the first half – while taking away 10 steals and swatting seven Mountaineer shots. They held App State to just 39.1 percent
Washington turned in a stellar first half, surpassing his career high in scoring with a dozen points in the opening period to go with three assists and a pair of three-point buckets. The Cajuns took the lead within the first four minutes of the game and outscored the Mountaineers 14-4 during a stretch of 6:25 of the half to open up a 23-13 lead, a run that included a stretch of seven straight points from Washington.
The Cajuns led by as much as 17 in the first half after a 13-2 burst that included nine straight points, five coming from Williams. UL picked up 11 assists on 16 made baskets, while the Mountaineers did not pick up an assist and turned the ball over 10 times.
Appalachian State did lead on the glass, picking up nine offensive boards with Milos Kostic cashing in on the ninth with a three at the halftime buzzer to send the game to the locker room with the Cajuns ahead 38-24.
Louisiana led by as much as 22 points in the second half when Xavian Rimmer connected on the fourth Cajun three-point bucket of the night midway through the period. Jay Wright helped up that lead with four straight points prior to Rimmer’s triple to cap a 9-2 run.
The Cajuns did a lot of their damage at the foul line in the second half, hitting 10 of 14 charity shots, and 14 for 19 for the game.
Louisiana will now turn its attention to a re-match of last year’s SBC Tournament championship game when it hosts preseason league favorite Georgia State on Thursday at the Cajundome.