UL-Lafayette basketball coach Bob Marlin found no fault in his team’s offensive game plan, or its execution, in Friday’s season opener at Ole Miss.
He did have a couple of other issues, and said that would be points of emphasis Tuesday when the Ragin’ Cajuns open their home season against Louisiana College.
“We didn’t finish plays, and we’ve got some work to do on defense,” Marlin said after the 94-76 loss to the Rebels in Oxford, Mississippi, which the Cajuns led at halftime. “But we did a lot of good things. We’re not going to throw out the bath water after one game.”
Marlin, in his eighth season, can take solace in the fact that his two returning all-Sun Belt Conference selections, Bryce Washington and Frank Bartley, may not struggle so much the rest of the season. The two combined to shoot 1 of 12 from the field for seven points.
Washington, a picture of consistency last year with 22 double-doubles, was held to 1-of-9 shooting. The Cajuns shot 36.6 percent as a team.
“This is an older group, and they’ll bounce back,” Marlin said. “I was a little more concerned that we let Ole Miss shoot better than 50 percent (50.8) and we got outrebounded (48-40).”
He hopes both of those trends will reverse in two home games this week. Tuesday’s 7 p.m. contest against the Wildcats in the Cajundome will be followed by a rare weekday afternoon contest on Friday when UL-Lafayette hosts Savannah State at 4 p.m.
Senior Johnathan Stove, who's from Baton Rouge, led four double-figure scorers with 16 points against Ole Miss, and true freshman Cedric Russell scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range in his collegiate debut. Other than that pair, the rest of the Cajuns were 15 of 51 from the floor and 3 of 15 on 3-pointers.
Louisiana College (0-1) was doubled up at UTEP 100-50 in its season opener Friday. The Wildcats shot only 32 percent from the floor, trailed at halftime 48-16 and were outrebounded 50-31.
Freshman guard Lashard Powell came off the bench to score 12 points for LC, which also hurt itself with a wretched 2-of-13 performance from the free throw line.
That’s one area in which the Cajuns didn’t struggle at Ole Miss, but Marlin expects a lot of improvement in several places.
“Our guys were disappointed,” he said. “The first half we played with some energy, and in the second half (Ole Miss) picked up the energy and we couldn’t make shots around the basket. They finished and we didn’t. It’s all about learning for us right now; we have to learn from that and come back.”