Gant, Ragin’ Cajuns roll past Loyola, 98-56

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LAFAYETTE – JaKeenan Gant posted his second consecutive 20-point game, scoring a career-high 23 points, and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns built a 25-point lead at halftime and defeated NAIA Loyola University of New Orleans, 98-56, in a non-conference game on Wednesday at the Cajundome.

Malik Marquetti and Johnathan Stove scored 13 points each while Jerekius Davis came off the bench to score a season-high 12 as Louisiana (7-2) built a 44-19 lead at halftime before shooting 21 of 32 (65.6 percent) in the second half to pull away.

Bryce Washington scored nine points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who won its 13th straight game against in-state opponents since a 91-79 loss at Louisiana Tech on Dec. 12, 2015. Louisiana and Louisiana Tech will continue its hardwood rivalry on Tuesday when the Ragin’ Cajuns visit the Bulldogs in Ruston.

Louisiana opened the game on a 25-7 run with Marquetti, Justin Miller and Cedric Russell combining to make three straight 3-pointers to end the run. A 3-pointer by P.J. Hardy with 3:13 remaining in the first half gave Louisiana a 42-15 lead before a 3-pointer by Loyola’s Chase Eckholdt and a free throw by Robert White cut the lead to 42-19 just before intermission.

Gant, a Missouri transfer, went 10-for-16 from the floor that included five dunks in the second half as the Ragin’ Cajuns outscored the Wolf Pack, 54-37, in the final 20 minutes. A three-point play by Washington with 15:26 remaining gave Louisiana a 54-24 lead before a steal and dunk by Davis with 3:01 left pushed the Ragin’ Cajuns lead to 89-48.

Stove, Miller and Marcus Stroman dished out four assists each for Louisiana with the Ragin’ Cajuns holding a decisive 43-24 advantage on the glass.

Tra’Von Jasmine led Loyola with 13 points with Eric Brown adding nine. The Wolf Pack were limited to 6-for-23 (26.0 percent) shooting in the first half before finishing 18-for-49 (36.7 percent) for the game.

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