SAN MARCOS, Texas — Emani Gant scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the second half and Texas State benefited from the lowest shooting performance by Louisiana-Lafayette this season to claim a 61-57 win in a Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball game on Saturday at Strahan Coliseum.
Ojai Black added 14 points for Texas State (11-13, 5-10 SBC), which recorded its first win over Louisiana-Lafayette (14-11, 10-6 SBC) in eight meetings. The Bobcats used a 15-0 run in the first half as they built a 16-point lead and led 37-23 at halftime.
The Cajuns, who finished 18-for-62 (29.0 percent) from the field, went scoreless for over eight minutes and went nearly 10 minutes without a basket in the first half after Steven Wronkoski scored off his own miss that gave the Cajuns a 4-2 lead with 17:59 remaining.
A pair of buckets by Black put Texas State ahead, 6-4, and the Bobcats eventually led 17-4 after a jumper by Ethan Montalvo with 11:55 remaining. The Bobcats took their biggest lead of the game — 22-6 — when Montalvo drained his only 3-pointer of the night in 10 attempts.
In the second half, the Cajuns cut the deficit to two points on three occasions. A bucket by Bryce Washington with 6:41 remaining capped a 19-6 run for the Cajuns and trimmed the Texas State lead to 49-47.
Gant, who finished 6-for-9 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds, answered with a three-point play for Texas State that pushed the lead back to 52-47 with 6:20 remaining.
A pair of free throws by Kasey Shepherd and a bucket by Washington cut the deficit to 54-52 with 3:15 remaining. Hayward Register added a 3-pointer that got the Cajuns to within 57-55 with 1:29 left.
But Texas State answered again as Gant made one of two free throws and Black hit a jumper for a 60-55 lead with 18 seconds left.
Washington recorded his second double-double of the season for the Cajuns with 13 points and career-high 13 rebounds. Johnathan Stove led the Cajuns with 14 points, while Shawn Long was limited to a season-low seven points while grabbing nine rebounds.
Louisiana-Lafayette, which finished 6-for-30 (20.0 percent) from the floor in the first half, held Texas State to 9-for-23 aim (39.1 percent) from the floor in the second half while holding a 45-41 advantage on the glass.