UL senior guard P.J. Hardy (15), shown here driving the ball against Texas State, has been picking up the pace from 3-point land in recent games.

If you like the 3-point shot, the Cajundome is the place to be at 7 p.m. Thursday evening when UL faces bitter rival Georgia State.

For one, the visiting Panthers lead the Sun Belt Conference in both 3-point shooting (.375) and 3-point shooting defense (.288), and have ruled the league for years now with a dynamic perimeter punch.

Secondly, the 3-point shot fits right into a charitable cause close to coach Bob Marlin’s heart.

As part of the nationwide Coaches vs. Cancer program, Thursday is a white-out night at the Cajundome. Marlin is asking all fans to give a $5 donation to help pediatric cancer research.

Statistically, Marlin’s Cajuns (9-14, 4-8) are 11th in the Sun Belt in 3-point shooting, but the coach is predicting a big night real soon.

In fact, he’s prepared to put his money where his mouth is.

“We haven’t shot the basketball as well as we’re capable,” Marlin said. “We’ve got some guys that have deep range in (P.J.) Hardy, (Cedric) Russell and (Jalen) Johnson. We’re going to have a night here soon where we hit 10 or 12 (3-point shots), because we certainly have the guys to do it.

“Hopefully, it’s Thursday night. I’m pledging $100 for every one we make, so we may shoot 30 or 40 to help that cause and help win the basketball game at the same time.”

The first meeting between the two teams wasn’t a pretty one for the visiting Cajuns, who lost 90-52. Georgia State made 11 3-pointers that night to only six for UL.

In addition to the cause of fighting cancer, there’s another reason UL may be jacking up more 3-pointers Thursday.

Georgia State is currently in second place in the Sun Belt standings at 15-8 overall and 8-4 in league play.

It might be tied for the top spot with Little Rock if not for getting upset twice by Troy (9-15, 5-8), which is only a half-game ahead of the Cajuns.

The secret to Troy’s success against Georgia State is uncanny. So far this season, it’s been all about the 3-pointer.

The Trojans made 12 of them in their 75-65 win in the first meeting this season and then 14 more in the 84-78 home win Saturday.

“Felt like, Troy was just making shots,” Marlin said. “Georgia State had the game under control and let it go the last five minutes, but Troy has had great luck or success versus Georgia State. Big win for Scott Cross and Troy’s program and it’s going to be make the rest of the season interesting for all of us.”

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