BOONE, N.C. – Frank Bartley scored a game-high 21 points to lead four players in double figures and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team used an 18-1 run in the second half to pull away and defeat Appalachian State, 77-62, in a Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball game on Monday at the Holmes Center.
Jay Wright added 15 points for Louisiana (18-11, 8-8 SBC), which won its fourth straight game and finished the regular-season with a winning record on the road for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. Bryce Washington recorded his 20th double-double of the season for the Ragin’ Cajuns, scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while Johnathan Stove scored 13 points and grabbed eight boards.
The win for Louisiana, which improved to 7-0 all-time against Appalachian State (8-20, 3-14 SBC), marked the 350th career win for head coach Bob Marlin at the Division I level. Marlin, who is 473-269 overall as a head coach, went 225-131 in 12 seasons at Sam Houston State before improving his record to 125-103 in his seventh year at Louisiana.
“We knew they (Appalachian State) were going to come out and give us a tough game … they beat the top two teams in the league here,” Marlin said. “We jumped out to a big lead, but we had a couple of bad turnovers, they hit a couple of shots and they played OK in the first half.
“They got two quick buckets to start the second half, but after that we did a really nice job and had eight three-and-outs on the night. So, it was our best defensive game in quite awhile.”
Louisiana sprinted out to a 9-0 lead as Bartley scored five points, highlighted by a 3-pointer at the 16:53 mark of the first half. A bucket by P.J. Hardy gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 19-10 lead with 12:13 remaining in the half before Appalachian State fought back.
The Mountaineers responded with a 12-2 run, capped by a Jake Babic layup for a 22-21 lead with 9:19 remaining, but a 3-pointer by Justin Miller and a layup by Washington would give Louisiana the lead for good, 26-22.
A bucket by App State’s Tyrell Johnson closed the deficit to 38-33 with 1:59 remaining in the half, but Bartley would answer with a 3-pointer and Washington drained a pair of free throws for a 43-33 lead heading into the half.
Washington, who finished 6-for-10 from the floor, opened a decisive second-half run for Louisiana, which turned a 51-46 contest into a 69-47 cushion. Bartley added a 3-pointer along with a steal and dunk for the Ragin’ Cajuns while Wright converted on a three-point play.
Roydell Brown added to the tipped in a missed jumper by Washington, giving Louisiana a 67-47 lead before Stove hit a pair of free throws to give the Ragin’ Cajuns their biggest lead of the night on the following possession.
Louisiana finished 28-for-55 (50.9 percent) from the floor and held a 40-29 advantage on the glass against the Mountaineers. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored 25 points off 17 turnovers by Appalachian State while holding a 46-34 advantage in points in the paint.
Ronshad Shabazz scored 17 points to lead Appalachian State with Isaac Johnson pulling down a team-high seven rebounds. The Mountaineers shot 24-for-58 (41.4 percent) from the floor and were held to 5-for-14 (27.8 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will close out the regular-season beginning Thursday (March 2) when it plays host to Texas State in a 7:15 p.m. contest at the Cajundome. The Ragin’ Cajuns will close out the regular-season on Saturday (March 4) against UTA in a 7:30 p.m. game that will be streamed live on ESPN3.