MONROE — Majok Deng scored a career-high 30 points to lead four players in double figures and UL-Monroe took advantage of cold shooting in the second half by Louisiana-Lafayette to claim an 81-70 victory in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams on Thursday at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
Nick Coppola added 19 points for ULM (4-2, 1-0 SBC), with Jamaal Samuel adding 12 and Justin Roberson 11. The Warhawks, who never trailed in the game, finished 25-for-48 (52.1 percent) from the floor and 9-for-15 (60.0 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
UL-Lafayette (2-3, 0-1 SBC) finished 27-for-69 (39.1 percent) from the floor and were 2-for-18 (11.1) from behind the 3-point line. The Ragin’ Cajuns missed 11 straight attempts from the floor in the second half, going nearly six minutes without a bucket until a dunk by Jay Hedgeman with 6:08 remaining in the game.
Tyrone Wooten came off the bench to score a season-high 12 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns, with Jay Wright, Shawn Long and Hedgeman scoring 10 points each. Devonta Walker added nine points for the Cajuns, which shot 14-for-39 in the second half.
UL-LAFAYETTE 71, UL-MONROE 52: In Monroe, for the first time in program history, the Louisiana-Lafayette women’s basketball team (5-1, 1-0 SBC) reached their fifth win in the first six games in back-to-back seasons, following a victory over in-state conference rival UL-Monroe.
Jaylyn Gordon scored 21 points, while Keke Veal and Kia Wilridge had 14 pointgs each. The UL-Lafayette offense outscored the Warhawks, 35-24, in the second half.
“We always knew we wouldn’t quit when we fell behind in the first quarter,” coach Garry Brodhead said. “We made some adjustments on the defense and came up with some steals.
UL-Louisiana fell behind, 15-10 in the first quarter and shot just 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from the floor. The Warhawks held a five-point lead with 34 seconds left in the opening stanza, but that advantage quickly evaporated in the second quarter when Veal, Gordon and Adrienne Prejean combined for the first seven points to grab a 17-15 lead.
The Lady Cajuns never fell behind for the remainder of the contest. Their second quarter lead reached as many as 10 points at the 4:19 mark. An 8-0 run by the Warhawks sliced the Cajuns’ lead to 29-27 with 1:42 left in the half. A 7-1 surge to end the quarter by the Cajuns provided them with a 36-29 cushion at halftime.
Gordon scored 17 of her game-high 21 points in the second quarter on 6-of-9 shooting, including five 3-pointers.