LAFAYETTE — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette men’s basketball team took care of business in its season-opening 85-57 win against Louisiana College. But the Cajuns know they’ll have to play better on an upcoming four-game road swing that begins Monday against Tulsa.
Both the Cajuns (1-0) and the Golden Hurricanes (0-1) are coming off an NCAA tournament appearance.
“This will be a good bonding time for us,” UL-Lafayette coach Bob Marlin said. “It looks like we’re headed into snow to go to Tulsa, possibly. Then we come back for a day and a half, and then go to Atlanta to play Auburn, then go straight to Vegas.”
Tulsa dropped its season opener on the road to Oral Roberts despite having four players finish in double figures. Part of the problem was a poor shooting effort, as the Golden Hurricanes shot just 34 percent from the field, but depth may also be an issue. They used three of their four starters for more than 30 minutes in the loss.
But the Cajuns aren’t taking Tulsa lightly, and they know that they aren’t likely to come away with a win if they turn the ball over 21 times like they did against Louisiana College.
The Cajuns are hoping to get a better game out of junior forward Shawn Long, who showed some rust after sitting out of practice with a bone bruise in the days leading up to the win.
Long, who entered the season as the NCAA’s active leader in double doubles with 36, scored eight points and pulled in six rebounds in 20 minutes. His cause was hurt by a 2-for-6 night at the free-throw line.
The Cajuns got a nice effort in the opener from some newcomers, however. Their three leading scorers in the opener — Devonta Walker, Brian Williams and Johnathan Stove — were all playing elsewhere last year.