Balanced effort leads Ragin’ Cajuns past UVI in season-opener, 121-80
LAFAYETTE – JaKeenan Gant and Malik Marquetti each scored 19 points to lead six players in double figures and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns shot an impressive 67 percent in its opener as it earned a 121-80 victory over the University of the Virgin Islands on Tuesday at the Cajundome.
Jeremy Hayes scored 16 points in his debut as Louisiana (1-0) led from wire-to-wire and finished 47-for-70 (67.1 percent) from the floor against the NAIA Buccaneers. Jerekius Davis added 14 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Justin Miller scoring 11 and Cedric Russell 10.
Louisiana scored the first six points of the game and quickly built an 18-7 lead after a layup by Gant with 15:46 remaining in the first half. Gant, whose only miss from the floor in nine attempts was on a dunk attempt, dished out three assists and blocked three shots in helping Louisiana take a 54-29 lead at halftime.
The Ragin’ Cajuns claimed an 81-51 lead on a 3-pointer by Davis, who went 4-for-6 from behind the arc, and did not let UVI (0-4) get closer than 22 the rest of the way.
Marcus Stroman nearly missed a triple double for the Ragin’ Cajuns, scoring eight points with a game-high rebounds and 10 assists. Freshman Kristian Lafayette scored eight points in his debut for Louisiana with Mason Aucoin and freshman Trajan Wesley each adding seven points off the bench.
Harold Cardwell led UVI with a game-high 25 points while Elijah Bush added 23. The Buccaneers, who were playing the game as an exhibition, finished 27-for-69 (39.1 percent) from the floor while going 11-for-26 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will return to action on Friday when it travels to face No. 6-ranked Tennessee in a 6 p.m. CST contest at Thompson-Boling Arena.
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