Cajuns Drop Double Overtime Thriller to USA

Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns lost a heart breaking double overtime thriller to Sun Belt rival South Alabama 91-89 in the Cajun Dome Thursday night.

The ball bounced in and out of the rim as the buzzer sounded to end the second overtime.

And when it bounded out, the crowd released a collective groan because Louisiana had allowed South Alabama to sneak out of the Cajundome with a 91-89 double overtime victory.

"I'm proud of our guys. We will get better," commented Cajun coach Bob Marlin following the contest. "We will have to regroup and get ready for Arkansas State.

"We fought and fought and battled them on the glass. We had an opportunity to win. We just had trouble scoring."

Elfrid Payton led Louisiana (6-12, 2-5) with 26, Bryant Mbamalu contributed 19, Shawn Long added 14 and Steven Wronkoski scored 12.

Augustine Rubit led South Alabama (8-7, 4-3) with 26 points, Dre Connor and Antoine Allen each added 19, Feddie Goldstein scored 11 and Mychal Ammons contributed 10.

Wronkoski opened scoring for the Cajuns with a three-pointer to give Louisiana its first lead a minute and a half into the opening period.

The Cajuns would trail for the next nine minutes as South Alabama used a combination of smothering man-to-man defense and accurate shooting to take the lead.

Allen, Goldstein and Carter all popped treys during that stretch to give the visitors a seven point cushion that the Cajuns would work diligently to erase.

Wronkoski started the rally with a deuce at the 10:25 mark, while Kasey Shepherd and Long followed with back-to-back triples as Louisiana took a 20-19 lead.

The teams traded buckets at that point, but a four minute Cajun scoring drought allowed the Jaguars to build an 11 point advantage. When the teams exited the floor at the break, the home squad found itself down 40-30.

It took the Cajuns 14 minutes to fully erase the deficit, but when Mbamalu popped a three with 2:48 to play the Cajuns were in the driver's seat with a 70-67 lead.

In the final minute of the second half, a steal and a shot by Ammons gave the visitors a 74-73 lead. A free throw from Payton sent the game to the first overtime.

The teams played as even as could be in the first overtime, but a Rubit bucket with 47 seconds remaining tied the score and sent the contest into the second overtime period.

The game got out of hand for the Cajuns in the second overtime but the Cajuns still had a shot to win it as Long's long-range three pointer bounced in and out of the basket as the buzzer sounded.

The Cajuns host Arkansas State Saturday night.

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