TROY, Ala. — The Louisiana-Lafayette men’s basketball team did not surrender the lead once in regulation but needed overtime to survive a scare from Troy, picking up an 84-80 win on Saturday at Trojan Arena.
UL-Lafayette (14-12, 8-7 Sun Belt Conference) put five players in double figures and never trailed, finishing off the season sweep of the Trojans (9-15, 4-11). The Cajuns had just six turnovers in the first 39 minutes of regulation but turned it over four times in the game’s final minute to allow the Trojans the opportunity to rally.
Troy’s Chris Bilbo scored six straight points in that final minute, and Kevin Thomas who made a pair of foul shots with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime tied at 74-74.
Troy scored on their first three shots of the overtime period to go, taking their first lead of the game and held an 80-77 advantage with 2:30 to play, but the Cajuns clamped down late and finished the game on a 7-0 run to get the win.
Jay Wright got consecutive layups to erase that three-point deficit and put the Cajuns back in front 81-80 with under a minute to play. The Cajuns were still up a pair with 10 seconds to play when Devonta Walker drew a charge.
Long led the Cajuns with 17 points and five rebounds, hitting a pair of threes and going 5-for-8 from the foul line. Wright finished with 16 points and three assists in 35 minutes, while Brian Williams led the Cajuns with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, hitting five of his seven tries from the field.
The Cajuns bench outscored the Troy reserves 24-4 with more than half of those points coming from Steven Wronkoski. The junior had a pair of threes and a season-high 13 points, while freshman Bryce Washington had 10 points, three assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Bilbo had a game-high 21 points for the Trojans, hitting 9-for-10 from the field in helping Troy to 62 percent shooting for the game, the highest by a Cajun opponent this season.
The Cajuns forced 10 Trojan turnovers in the first half as Troy shot nearly 62 percent from the floor in the opening period. Steven Wronkoski led the Cajuns with eight points off the bench, including a pair of threes to help UL-Lafayette to a 41-35 halftime advantage.
The Cajuns led by as many as 12 in the first half, using a 13-3 run late in the half to push the lead to that point. Long had five early points, but quickly found himself in foul trouble with three early personals, leaving him on the sideline for the majority of the half.
In the second period, the Cajuns built the lead to as much as 14 points when Wronkoski capped a 7-0 spurt with a layup with 13:02 to play. But Troy then went to work and had the lead back to single digits by the eight-minute mark.
A layup from Long and a free throw from Wright still had the Cajuns ahead 73-65 with 1:33 left before the crazy final minute to set up the overtime.