Frank Bartley scored 16 points to lead three players in double figures and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball closed out the first half on a dominant 27-2 run to claim a 78-45 win over Appalachian State in a Sun Belt Conference game on Thursday at the Cajundome.
Bryce Washington posted his eighth double-double of the season – and 33rd of his career – with 15 points and 10 rebounds as Louisiana (13-3, 3-0 SBC) built a commanding 46-17 lead at halftime and allowed its fewest points in an SBC home game since giving up 42 to Texas State on Feb. 19, 2015.
Louisiana, the lone unbeaten team remaining in SBC play, erased a 9-6 deficit early in the first half after 3-pointers by Tyrell Johnson and Justin Forrest before taking the lead for good as Marcus Stromanscored on a short jumper, Malik Marquetti drained a 3-pointer and Cedric Russell converted on a four-point play for a 15-9 lead.
Appalachian State (7-9, 2-1 SBC), which entered the game second in the SBC in scoring offense (82.0) and was one of three teams unbeaten in SBC play after the first weekend, closed the gap to 19-15 after baskets by Johnson and Ronshad Shabazz, but Johnathan Stove scored six straight points during a 17-0 spurt for Louisiana.
Washington converted a three-point play for a 32-15 lead with 4:53 remaining in the first half before Bartley would close out the half with consecutive 3-pointers.
A bucket by Washington, who finished 5-for-9 from the floor, pushed Louisiana’s lead to 57-27 with 13:52 remaining and the Ragin’ Cajuns took their biggest lead of the night on a Jerekius Davis putback with 7:35 for a 73-37 advantage.
Marquetti scored all 10 of his points in the first half as Louisiana finished 29-for-66 (43.9 percent) from the floor and connected on 8 of 25 3-pointers. Stove, Russell and Justin Miller scored eight points each for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Stroman dishing out a game-high four assists.
Forrest scored 12 points to lead App State, which finished 19-for-55 from the floor (34.5 percent) from the floor and committed 17 turnovers. Shabazz, who was fourth in the SBC in scoring at 20.9 points per game, was limited to eight points on 3 of 11 shooting including 0-for-4 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will resume SBC play on Saturday when it plays host to Coastal Carolina (7-9, 1-2 SBC) in a 7 p.m., contest at the Cajundome.