Marquetti’s big night leads Louisiana-Lafayette past McNeese, 80-67

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Stroman adds 20 as Cajuns claim fourth straight win over I-10 rivals

LAKE CHARLES – Playing without senior JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana’s other two seniors picked up the slack as Malik Marquetti scored a career-high 29 points with Marcus Stroman adding 20 to lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to an 80-67 victory over McNeese before an announced crowd of 2,590 on Tuesday at the new McNeese H&HP Complex.

Jerekius Davis scored 12 points in his second start of the season for Louisiana (8-4) while Justin Miller added 11. The win for Louisiana marked its fourth straight victory over McNeese (3-8) in the 94-game series and its second straight victory in Lake Charles since claiming wins in 1991 and 1999.

Marquetti, who scored a career-high 22 points in his previous outing against Louisiana Tech, finished 10-for-20 from the floor with a career-high seven 3-pointers while dishing out three assists and collecting three steals.

“It was a great win for our team,” head coach Bob Marlin said. “It was a good outing for our guys, especially since we didn’t have JaKeenan. Malik did a really nice job. He shot the ball well, made seven 3’s and they were all clean. Marcus refused to let them (McNeese) catch up, we got a couple of stops and run-outs and made big buckets when we needed them.

“Most importantly, our defense was good and besides getting outrebounded, our guys did a great job.”

Louisiana, which never trailed after Marquetti drained his second straight 3-pointer with 14:06 remaining in the first half, closed out the first half with a 13-5 run to take a 42-33 lead at intermission.

The Ragin’ Cajuns pushed their lead to 46-35 on Marquetti’s bucket with 18:46 left before McNeese chipped away at the lead. The Cowboys got as close as 52-49 on a layup by Jarren Greenwood with 11:41 remaining in the game, but Stroman scored Louisiana’s next eight points during an 8-2 run that extended the lead to 60-51.

Marquetti, who finished 7-for-11 from behind the 3-point line, added three 3-pointers over a three-minute span late in the second half, with his final long-range jumper giving Louisiana a 76-60 lead with 3:23 left.

Three players – Greenwood, Malik Hines and Roydell Brown – scored 14 points each to lead the Cowboys, who finished 23-for-54 (43 percent) from the floor and 3-for-13 from behind the 3-point line. Hines pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds for McNeese, which held a 47-32 advantage on the glass, but committed 23 turnovers which led to a 27 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Louisiana will take off for the Christmas holiday before returning to action on Saturday, Dec. 29, when it travels to Hammond to face Southeastern Louisiana in a 4 p.m., contest at SLU’s University Center.

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