ARLINGTON, Texas — Frank Bartley scored 17 of his season-high 26 points in the second half and the Louisiana-Lafayette overcame a 14-point deficit in the first half to claim a 77-65 win over UT Arlington in a Sun Belt Conference game on Thursday at College Park Center.
Marcus Stroman scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and Justin Miller scored eight of his 10 after intermission as Louisiana-Lafayette (16-3, 6-0 SBC) won its sixth straight game and 12th straight SBC game dating to last season.
Louisiana-Lafayette, off to its best start since opening 18-1 in 1972-73, trailed 44-32 at halftime and 50-40 with 17:16 remaining before holding UTA (12-8, 3-4) scoreless over the next eight minutes before JaKeenan Gant’s 3-pointer with 13:11 left to play gave the Ragin’ Cajuns their first lead of the night at 51-50.
“We did a great job defensively in the second half,” Cajuns coach Bob Marlin said. “We flipped the script in the second half, we shot 58 percent (from the floor) and they shot 25. They were living at the free throw line in the first half, outscoring us 13-5. In the second half, we go 14-0 on free throws.
“Our guys fought and when the game was there we took it. We got them isolated in the post and Johnathan (Stove) got back-to-back baskets and they called off the trap. Once that happened, we knew we were in good shape.”
The bucket by Gant, who finished with nine points on three 3-pointers, was part of a 13-0 run for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Stroman scored seven points during the stretch with Miller capping the spurt with an off-balance jumper with 9:12 remaining.
Kevin Hervey scored 12 of his game-high 25 points during an 18-4 run during the first five minutes of the first half for UTA, which fell to 34-5 overall on its home floor. Louisiana-Lafayette chipped away at the lead, getting to within 32-30 on a Bryce Washington bucket with 3:03 left, but UTA closed out the half on a 12-2 run to take a 44-32 lead at the break.
UTA closed the gap to 62-58 on a Hervey 3-pointer with 4:56 remaining, but the Mavericks would get no closer as Stroman and Miller combined for buckets for a 66-58 lead with 2:56 left.
Louisiana-Lafayette shot 14-for-24 (58.3 percent) in the second half and was 14-for-19 from the free throw line after halftime. Miller pulled down seven rebounds for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Stroman dishing out a game-high six assists.
Erick Neal scored 14 points for UTA with Kaelon Wilson adding 10. Hervey grabbed nine boards to lead the Mavericks, who were outrebounded by Louisiana, 45-30, and shot 9-for-36 (25.0 percent) from the floor in the second half and 0-for-2 from the free throw line.
Louisiana-Lafayette returns to action on Saturday when it visits Texas State in a 4:30 p.m. contest at Strahan Coliseum.