LAFAYETTE — With losses in seven of their last 10 games, the UL-Lafayette men’s basketball team could use a spark.
On paper, the Cajuns (13-12, 7-7) should have that opportunity Saturday against Troy (9-14, 4-10), who will enter the matchup tied for last place in the Sun Belt Conference.
The Cajuns throttled the Trojans 91-64 in their last meeting, getting 15 or more points from four of their starters while shooting 57.4 percent from the floor.
But those shots that were falling while the Cajuns jumped out to a 4-0 start in league play have been harder to come by lately. After topping the 50 percent mark shooting in nine of their first 15 games, the Cajuns have managed to do it only twice over their last 10 games.
That stretch continued in Thursday’s 67-55 loss to SBC-leader UL-Monroe, where the Cajuns shot just 37.9 percent from the floor and made just one bucket in the final five minutes of regulation.
“We missed some big shots,” said coach Bob Marlin in a post-game radio interview. “We had a couple really good looks, we executed, we just didn’t get them in.”
The Cajuns’ overall struggles in the second half that have been plaguing them in the last 10 games continued against the Warhawks. They made only eight field goals in the second half while Monroe picked up its shooting, and the Warhawks outscored the Cajuns 37-22 in the second period.
“We should’ve won this game,” Marlin said. “We played good enough to win until the last 10 minutes. For 30 minutes, we gave ourselves a great chance to win and didn’t finish the game.”
The Cajuns are now 3-7 on the road this season, though that mark improves in SBC play where they are 3-3. The Trojans, meanwhile, have struggled equally at home (2-5 in league play) and on the road (2-5).
A pair of Trojans come into the game averaging better than 14 points per game in Musa Abdul-Aleem (14.9) and Wesley Person (14.1), and Person scored 28 on the Cajuns the last time they played.
“We’ve got to guard those guys for sure,” Marlin said.
Ladies look to advance
The Cajuns ladies (16-7, 8-6) will look to take another step up on the conference ladder when they take on Troy (14-9, 9-5) Saturday.
The Trojans are currently tied with Texas State for third place in the SBC, with the Cajuns a game behind both in fifth place.
The first time they met, while the Cajuns were in the midst of a three-game losing streak to open conference play, Troy held the Cajuns to just 22 first-half points and held on for a 60-55 win at the Cajundome.
None of the Cajuns starters managed to crack double-digits in points in the first contest.
It was the beginning of a six-game winning streak for Troy, who has cooled lately, going 3-4 in its last seven games. Since that game, the Cajuns have gone 8-4.
Troy is 8-3 at home this season, while the Cajuns are 7-3 on the road.