Cajuns overcome cold start to handle ULM, 82-48

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LAFAYETTE – JaKeenan Gant scored 12 points in his return to the lineup and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns overcame an 0-for-11 performance from the field to start the game to roll past ULM, 82-48, in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at the Cajundome.

Frank Bartley added 12 points with Marcus Stroman and Johnathan Stove each scoring 10 as Louisiana (15-3, 5-0 SBC) won its fifth straight game and extended its consecutive SBC win streak to 11 games dating back to last season.

Gant, who missed the Ragin’ Cajuns past two games with a hand injury, went 5-for-6 from the floor with a pair of 3-pointers as Louisiana built a 33-15 lead at halftime. The Ragin’ Cajuns opened the second half making 12 of their first 14 attempts from the floor, including their first nine 3-pointers, in recording their largest margin of victory against ULM (7-9, 1-4 SBC) in the 76-game series.

Both teams started out cold before ULM got a bucket from Sam McDaniel with 18:06 remaining in the first half and a free throw by Sam Alabakis with 16:46 left.

The Warhawk lead quickly disappeared after Louisiana scored its first points on a Gant 16-foot jumper with 14:25 remaining in the first half. That would start a 21-6 run for the Ragin’ Cajuns as Stroman added a steal and layup and Bartley followed with a bucket off a steal by Malik Marquetti to give Louisiana the lead for good at 6-3.

Stove and P.J. Hardy each drained 3-pointers during the run for Louisiana with Justin Miller capping the spurt with a three-point play with 6:56 remaining.

Gant opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers for Louisiana with his second jumper opening a 21-2 run for the Ragin’ Cajuns that pushed the lead to 57-22 on a bucket by Bryce Washington with 13:14 left.

Stroman dished out 10 assists and collected five steals as Louisiana finished 30-for-63 (47.6 percent) from the floor and 14-for-31 (45.2 percent) from behind the 3-point line. Washington scored eight points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Louisiana with Marquetti scoring all nine points in the second half and Miller adding eight off the bench.

McDaniel led ULM with 19 points with Travis Munnings adding 12. Alabakis grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Warhawks, who were 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) from the floor in the first half and 17-for-50 (34.0 percent) for the game.

Louisiana will return to action on Thursday when it travels to face UT Arlington at 7:15 p.m. The game will be available on ESPN3.

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