LAFAYETTE — The last time the Louisiana-Lafayette men’s basketball team was getting ready to face Georgia Southern, it was riding a four-game winning streak and had a full week to prepare — and then the Ragin’ Cajuns lost 78-70 to begin an ugly 10-game stretch when they went 3-7.
This time, they’re on a three-game winning streak, again with a full week to prepare. Despite the surface similarity, director of basketball operations Mike Murphy said things are different this time.
“When you look at the first four conference games, we win four in a row and we’re on a roll,” he said Monday. “Then you get a break, you take the weekend off — a bad time to take a break; you want momentum on your side and you want to continue playing. You have to travel to Georgia Southern (to start) five games in 10 days. I think this time, momentum is on our side a little bit.”
Also helping the Cajuns’ efforts is that, for the first time in a while, the Cajuns will be resting while their opponent plays this Thursday.
Rest of all kinds is crucial, Murphy said, especially in late February.
“At this time of year, to have an open date on Thursday is really big because it gives us a chance to rest mentally and it gives us a chance to do a lot of film work, and in this sport that’s critical,” he said.
Women’s coach Garry Brodhead opened up his Monday news conference by saying his team played really well against Texas State on Thursday, then two days later did not play very well against Texas-Arlington.
The ladies followed up a 64-41 drubbing of Texas State by scoring only 42 points in a loss to the Mavericks.
That’s a problem for Brodhead, who hasn’t seen consistency manifest in his program despite his best efforts. It’s also something he and the coaching staff are taking the blame for.
“I think the inconsistency is on our coaching,” Brodhead said. “We’ve got to do a little better job getting them to play complete games and get more consistent at what we do.”
The team has looked great at times this season, especially on defense, but it hasn’t been able to win more than two games in a row in the past 10 games.
With three games remaining, including two against the top two teams in the conference, the Cajuns are hoping to win at least one to finish with a .500 record in league play, which Brodhead thinks will earn them at least the 5 or 6 seed in the conference tournament.
A chance to get out there
Men’s coach Bob Marlin did not attend Monday’s news conference because he was out recruiting, which Murphy said was possible because of the Cajuns’ open date Thursday.
Murphy said the open date “allows the coaches to get out on the road to recruit, especially the head coach.”
“That’s difficult to do at this time of year, but it’s critically important to the continued progress of your program, because there are so many regional and state tournaments getting ready to play in high school and in junior college,” Murphy said.
Ditto for Brodhead and the women’s staff, which will take advantage of the open date by hitting its primary recruiting areas.
“Big recruiting week for us,” he said. “Louisiana High School Association starts playing as well as Texas, so we’ll be out on the road recruiting.”
No word on Williams
Senior forward Brian Williams did not play in the Cajuns’ game against UT-Arlington on Saturday with a shoulder injury. Murphy said he did not have an update on his status and that he was still “day-to-day.”
Williams has started in 22 games for the Cajuns this season. He joins Shawn Long as one of two players on the team averaging more than 10 points this season (10.1).