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UL guard Jalen Dalcourt (5) drives to the basket against Xavier guard Rayshawn Mart (3) during their victory over the Gold Rush on Wednesday at the Cajundome.

Former Lafayette High standout Jalen Dalcourt has felt comfortable with his UL teammates for a while now.

It might not have looked that way when it came to his perimeter shooting … until Wednesday’s 84-72 home win over Xavier of Louisiana at the Cajundome.

Dalcourt showed off the 3-point stroke that coach Bob Marlin has claimed to see so often in practice by making all three of his attempts behind the arc on a 5-of-6 shooting night overall for 13 points in 18 minutes.

“It felt good,” Dalcourt said. “I just had to find my shot and take my time on every jumper. But it felt good to see some go in. I think I’m starting to find a groove. It’s just been a lot of repetition, just getting up a lot of shots. Getting back to the norm.”

Dalcourt understands the impact he can make coming off the bench.

“It can be a huge difference,” he said. “Coming off the bench and giving us that offensive spark, knowing that the first five is real good and they play at a real high level. So me coming in and playing at that same intensity that they left off really helps our team be a success.”

The San Jose State transfer hasn’t taken long to get comfortable with his new team.

“I love this group of guys we’ve got on the team,” Dalcourt said. “Everybody’s real together. We have a real strong bond. Everybody just lifts each other up and keeps everybody with confidence.

"I think that’s the most important thing with this team. We never let anyone put their head down. We stayed together. They’ve been real helpful with me with that, so I’m getting real comfortable out there.”

Dalcourt’s offensive punch was on a short list of things Marlin was pleased with in the win.

The aggressive Gold Rush tied UL with points in the paint 34-34, easily beat UL in second-chance points 18-7 and forced 16 turnovers.

“The defensive effort wasn’t there tonight,” Marlin said. “I was disappointed. We let guys beat us off the dribble in the first half, and in the second half we were careless with the ball and still continued to miss assignments on the defensive end. I’m glad that we were able to come out with a victory, but we did not play the way we needed to.”

The outcome was never in doubt. The Cajuns’ largest lead was 19 at 80-61 with 5:36 left after a Kentrell Garnett 3-pointer, but Xavier closed out the game strong to narrow the gap to 12.

“Give Xavier some credit,” Marlin said. “They’ve got a good team. They’ve got an All-American in (Rayshawn) Mart, and he showed why. He’s a good player. We let those guys have some confidence and they stepped up and played well.”

The Cajuns did have their best 3-point shooting night so far this season by making 10 of 17 from behind the arc.

In addition to Dalcourt’s bombs, Garnett, Greg Williams and Jordan Brown all got two long-range shots to fall.

“You saw it tonight,” Marlin said of Dalcourt’s shooting ability. “He can really stroke it. That’s one thing we did do tonight is we shot the 3-point shot well. If we take better care of the ball, rebound the ball and play better defense, then this game would have been a little bit easier. But it helps when you shoot the ball in, and we shot a good percentage tonight.”

UL shot 49.1% from the field overall and 58.8% from 3-point land.

Brown finished with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting along with six rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal.

The other double-figure scorers were Theo Akwuba with 13 despite 4-of-12 shooting, and Williams with 10 points and five rebounds.

“If we can shoot the 3-point shot well, I’d take that every night,” Marlin said.

Not the same can be said for the 16 turnovers, nine of which came from Brown and Akwuba.

“They doubled-down and took the ball away from us,” Marlin said. “Our post players were trying to put the ball on the floor too much when they should have turned and scored. They had nine of our 16 (turnovers) between them, but we had some backcourt passes and a backcourt violation that weren’t good. We’ve got to be more careful with the ball and our posts have got to catch and score.”

Another area Marlin would like to see improve is the free-throw line, where the Cajuns missed 10 of their 28 attempts.

“We’ve got guys who can make free throws,” Marlin said. “We do need to shoot a better percentage in the games, though.”

Former Lafayette Christian star guard TJ Jones also reached double figures with 13 points in 26 minutes.

“Those guys battled,” Marlin said. “It was a physical game inside. There was a lot of contact. I thought they let a lot of things go and they made multiple efforts on the O-boards and were able to get some second-opportunity chances and they scored out of them.”


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.