EAST LANSING, Mich. — UL-Lafayette’s rally fell short amid too many missed free throws in its bid for an upset of No. 15 Michigan State.

The Ragin’ Cajuns lost 63-60 on Sunday after Shawn Long missed on a drive and Elfrid Payton was off the mark on a contested 3-pointer in the closing seconds.

“We wanted to go for 3,” ULL coach Bob Marlin said. “It happened quickly. We were out of timeouts. I wish I’d had one in my back pocket.”

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is getting tired of his team’s generous nature. The Spartans (5-1) committed 20 turnovers — 14 in the second half — and ULL nearly overcame a 10-point deficit.

“I think our guys are going to be great citizens when they get done with basketball because the Christmas season is lasting all year,” Izzo said. “They’re giving gifts away. Give (ULL) a lot of credit; I thought they played harder than we played. But I can’t give anybody credit for some of those. It’s undisciplined and inexcusable.”

Keith Appling scored 19 points and helped his team hang on for its fifth straight win. Appling, who has scored at least 17 points in every game except one this season, was 4 for 11 from the field. But he made plays at key times, hitting 10 free throws and adding six rebounds and five assists.

Payton had 20 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns (2-4). Long added 16 points, all but two coming in the first 10:03, and Kevin Brown had 14.

“Most teams won’t have a big man who can step out to the perimeter and guard me, so I tried to exploit that early,” Long said. “Later, I rushed some shots. I should have slowed down a little bit.”

ULL made just 11 of 21 from the foul line, which may have cost it the upset.

The Spartans have won 65 of their past 66 nonconference home games and haven’t lost at home in November since a defeat by David Robinson-led Navy 26 years ago.


NICHOLLS STATE 65, SOUTHERN UTAH 54: In Lubbock, Texas, Nicholls State never trailed as it closed play in the Basketball Travelers Invitational with a victory.

Nicholls (6-2) finished 2-1 on the weekend, notching wins over the Thunderbirds (2-3) and New Orleans. The win was the Colonels’ sixth in seven games.

LiAnn McCarthy and KK Babin led Nicholls with 16 points each; Alisha Allen added 12. Hailey Mandelko came off the bench for 12 points to lead Southern Utah.

The Colonels visit Alabama State on Dec. 13.

TEXAS TECH 81, NEW ORLEANS 38: In Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech claimed the Basketball Travelers Invitational championship.

The loss was the third in three days for UNO (1-5). Mechel’le Thomas reached double figures for the fifth time in six games, leading the Lady Privateers with 13 points. Mirjam Sipos and Keri Thomas added 12 and 11.

Four players scored in double figures for the Lady Raiders (5-1), led by the duo of Jackie Patterson and Casey Morris with 16 points apiece. Patterson completed a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Lady Privateers return to action at 5 p.m. Thursday against Southeastern Louisiana.

ALABAMA 97, SOUTHEASTERN LA. 62: In Tuscaloosa, Alabama opened on an 11-2 run to cruise past Southeastern Louisiana.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Lady Lions (3-2). Alabama (5-0) scored 34 points off a season-high 31 turnovers for Southeastern.

Junior forward Aja Gibson finished 7-for-11 for a team-high 14 points for Southeastern, and junior guard Jameika Hoskins added 12 points.

Alabama was led by Jasmine Robinson’s 14 points.