BOONE, N.C. — Shawn Long scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his 68th career double-double, and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns held off a second-half rally by Appalachian State to claim an 87-76 victory in a Sun Belt Conference game on Thursday at the Holmes Center.
Bryce Washington added 14 points for Louisiana-Lafayette (13-8, 9-3 SBC), which won its eighth consecutive game and third straight on the road after an 0-8 start away from home. Jay Wright added 12 points and Johnathan Stove had 10 as the Ragin’ Cajuns, who were playing their fourth game in eight days, used a 9-2 run over the final 5:08 after Appalachian State (6-16, 4-7 SBC) cut the lead to 78-74 on a bucket by Frank Eaves.
“It’s always good to get a win on the road,” coach Bob Marlin said. “Give App State credit, they played well, they made shots (in the second half) and they’re hard to defend. We missed a bunch of free throws. I’m glad that we were able to hang on and win. We’ve played four games in eight days, including a tough one on Tuesday against ULM. Our guys are spent.”
Louisiana-Lafayette built a 20-point lead in the first half and took its biggest lead at 57-38 when Long scored on a layup with 17:54 remaining in the game. The Cajuns held a 77-63 lead after a 3-pointer by Kasey Shepherd with 8:55 remaining, but the Mountaineers rallied with a 14-1 run to cut the deficit to 78-74.
Wright followed Eaves’ bucket with a layup with 4:47 remaining to give Louisiana-Lafayette an 80-74 lead and the Ragin’ Cajuns would get a pair of dunks by Long, a jumper by Washington and a free throw by Stove to pull away.
Appalachian State took its only lead early in the game on a Ronshad Shabazz 3-pointer before a bucket by Jacob Lawson gave the Mountaineers a 5-2 lead. Stove and Washington connected on a pair of buckets to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 6-5 lead with 15:06 remaining in the first half.
Louisiana-Lafayette used an 11-2 run to take a 20-10 lead after the Mountaineers scored on Bennett Holley’s 3-pointer with 13:34 left in the half. Hayward Register drained a pair of 3-pointers during the stretch and Long added a three-point play to help the Ragin’ Cajuns extend their lead.
Devonta Walker added a three-point play for a 25-15 lead and Louisiana-Lafayette would extend its lead to 36-17 on a layup by Shepherd with 7:21 left in the half. The Ragin’ Cajuns, who shot 60 percent (18-for-30) from the floor in the first half, would up its lead to 52-32 on a bucket by Wright and would build a 52-35 lead at the half.
Long, who was starting in his school-record 117th game of his career, finished 6-for-13 from the floor and 7-for-11 from the free throw line. Washington went 6-for-11 from the field and narrowly missed a double-double after grabbing nine rebounds.
Louisiana-Lafayette finished 31-for-59 (52.5 percent) from the floor and was 20-for-38 from the free throw line. App State, which outscored the Ragin’ Cajuns 41-35 in the second half, was led by Shabazz with 18 points with Eaves – the SBC’s leading scorer — finishing with 15. The Mountaineers went 27-for-67 (40.3) percent from the floor and 6-for-20 (30.0) from behind the 3-point line.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will return to action next Thursday when it hosts Arkansas State in a 7:15 p.m. contest at the Cajundome.