LAFAYETTE — JaKeenan Gant and Malik Marquetti each scored 19 points to lead six players in double figures and Louisiana-Lafayette shot a67 percent in its opener as it earned a 121-80 victory over the University of the Virgin Islands on Tuesday at the Cajundome.
Jeremy Hayes scored 16 points in his debut as UL-Lafayette (1-0) led from wire-to-wire and finished 47-for-70 (67.1 percent) from the floor against the NAIA Buccaneers. Jerekius Davis added 14 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Justin Miller scoring 11 and Cedric Russell 10.
Louisiana-Lafayette scored the first six points of the game and quickly built an 18-7 lead after a layup by Gant with 15:46 remaining in the first half. Gant, whose only miss from the floor in nine attempts was on a dunk attempt, dished out three assists and blocked three shots in helping Louisiana take a 54-29 lead at halftime.
The Ragin’ Cajuns claimed an 81-51 lead on a 3-pointer by Davis, who went 4-for-6 from behind the arc, and did not let UVI (0-4) get closer than 22 the rest of the way.
Marcus Stroman nearly missed a triple double for the Ragin’ Cajuns, scoring eight points with a game-high rebounds and 10 assists. Freshman Kristian Lafayette scored eight points in his debut for Louisiana-Lafayette with Mason Aucoin and freshman Trajan Wesley each adding seven points off the bench.
Harold Cardwell led UVI with a game-high 25 points while Elijah Bush added 23. The Buccaneers, who were playing the game as an exhibition, finished 27-for-69 (39.1 percent) from the floor while going 11-for-26 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana-Lafayette will return to action on Friday when it travels to face No. 6-ranked Tennessee in a 6 p.m. contest at Thompson-Boling Arena.