BOONE, N.C. — The Louisiana-Lafayette men’s basketball team put together one of its most complete games of the season and improved to 3-0 in Sun Belt Conference play for the first time since 2007-08 with an 80-64 win at Appalachian State on Monday night.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (9-5, 3-0) won for the sixth time in their past seven games by putting four players in double figures, led by 15 from Brian Williams and Bryce Washington’s career-high 14. The win was the 300th career victory for coach Bob Marlin, including his previous stop at Sam Houston State.
“This was a good one to win, and it takes a lot of good assistant coaches to help get to that total,” Marlin said. “I don’t think Appalachian State was at their best tonight, and I thought we were pretty good in the first half.”
In their fist meeting with the Mountaineers (4-7, 1-1) as members of the Sun Belt, the Cajuns outrebounded their opponents 48-36 and shot 51.7 percent. Washington just missed a double-double, pulling in eight rebounds, dishing out three assists and blocking two shots. Williams hit 6 of 8 shots and had three steals, and Kasey Shepherd added 13 points and three steals.
“I thought Bryce was the best player on the floor tonight — no question,” Marlin said.
Shawn Long finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, rejecting three shots and doling out a career-best four assists.
In all, the Cajuns handed out 18 assists with just 13 turnovers while posting 10 steals and swatting seven shots. They held Appalachian State to 39.1 percent shooting.
Washington turned in a stellar first half, surpassing his career high in scoring with a dozen points in the opening period to go with three assists and a pair of 3-pointers. The Cajuns took the lead in the first four minutes and outscored the Mountaineers 14-4 during a stretch of 6:25 to open a 23-13 lead — a run that included a stretch of seven straight points from Washington.
The Cajuns led by as much as 17 in the first half after a 13-2 burst that included nine straight points, five coming from Williams.
The Cajuns led by as many as 22 points in the second half when Xavian Rimmer connected on the fourth Cajuns 3-pointer of the night midway through the period. Jay Wright helped up that lead with four straight points before Rimmer’s triple to cap a 9-2 run.
Up next for the Cajuns is a rematch of last year’s Sun Belt tournament title game: They host Georgia State at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the Cajundome.