CONWAY, S.C. — Louisiana-Lafayette's defense continued to struggle Saturday in a 96-79 loss to Coastal Carolina, the Ragin' Cajuns' first loss to the Chanticleers.
Zac Cuthbertson scored 24 points to lead five Coastal Carolina players in double figures and freshman Ebrima Dibba notched his first career double-double to help the Chanticleers roll.
JaKeenan Gant paced UL-Lafayette with 27 points and 12 rebounds, but he made just one of his seven 3-pointers as the Ragin' Cajuns shot just 25 percent (7 of 28) from beyond the arc.
Cuthbertson hit 6 of 10 shots, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range and Coastal Carolina (12-9, 6-3 Sun Belt Conference) shot 56.5 percent from beyond the arc (13 of 23) in winning its fifth straight. Dibba finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Devante Jones contributed 16 points, nine boards and six assists. Reserves Tyrell Gumbs-Frater and Tommy Burton scored 15 and 13, respectively.
Cutherbertson's 3-point play and a dunk by Dibba in the final 35 seconds of the first half gave the Chanticleers a 44-38 lead. The Cajuns (13-9, 4-5) trailed 59-57 after two P.J. Hardy free throws with 13:27 remaining. But Gumbs-Frater and Dibba answered with back-to-back 3-pointers and the Chanticleers pulled away.
Jerekius Davis scored 12 points for the Cajuns, all in the first half, and Marcus Stroman added 11 points. UL-Lafayette returns home to face Georgia State at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Cajuns' 8 p.m. Friday game against Georgia Southern will be televised on ESPN2.
COASTAL CAROLINA 76, UL-LAFAYETTE 58: At the Cajundome, Caitlin Roche scored 24 points as the Chanticleers rolled past the host Cajuns.
Roche, Aja Blount (16 points) and Naheria Hamilton (14) combined to shoot 21 of 36 and scored 54 points, nearly outscoring UL-Lafayette by themselves.
The Cajuns (6-15, 4-6) led just once — when Andrea Cournoyer hit a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter for a 19-17 advantage. But Coastal Carolina (11-9, 3-6) scored 14 of the final 18 points of the quarter to lead 31-23 at halftime.
Diamond Morrison led UL-Lafayette with 12 points off the bench. Another reserve, Kendall Bess, had 11 points. Cournoyer was the only starter in double-figure scoring with 10. Ty'reona Doucet had eight points and seven rebounds, but the Cajuns shot just 21 of 65 (32.3 percent) from the floor.