LAFAYETTE — Jay Wright is confident things will go a little better for him in his second homecoming trip to Georgia Southern on Thursday.
Louisiana-Lafayette’s junior point guard grew up in Rincon, Georgia, about an hour away from Georgia Southern’s campus in Statesboro, Georgia. He had what coach Bob Marlin estimated as half of his high school there to watch him the last time the Cajuns played in Statesboro.
The results: Five points on a 1-for-9 shooting effort, including a 3-for-7 night at the free throw line to go along with four fouls and three turnovers.
Wright said it was a matter of him “forgetting what he came here for.” He said he’ll be ready for Thursday’s game, and Marlin emphatically agreed.
“Jay will play better in Statesboro than he did last year, I’ll promise you that,” Marlin said.
Wright has had a bit of an up and down start to his junior season. His scoring average has dropped to 9.6 points per game as he’s struggled with his shooting stroke in the Cajuns last five games.
In those games, Wright has made just nine of his 42 shot attempts, including a 3-for-15 effort from 3-point range.
“He’s going to bust out,” Marlin said. “He had a few 20-point games for us last year, he hasn’t done that this year.”
The one that got away
Shawn Long became the Sun Belt Conference’s new career rebounds leader in Saturday’s loss against Arkansas State, when he passed former South Alabama standout Augustine Rubit with his fourth rebound early in the game.
Long finished the contest with 15 boards, but Marlin said he needed his big man to get No. 16 at the end of the game.
“Shawn, all he wanted was a win that night,” Marlin said. “Yeah, the career-leading rebounder got 15 the other night, but he needed one more. If we rebound that missed free throw, we win the game.”
The NCAA’s all-time leader in rebounds is Tom Gola, who snared 2,201 boards in a four-year career for La Salle in the 1950s, an average of 18.7 per game.
There was a new face in the Cajuns starting lineup Saturday against Arkansas State.
Senior guard Steve Wronkoski earned his first start of the year against the Red Wolves, finishing with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in 22 minutes. Coach Bob Marlin said the move was made because of Wronkoski’s practice performance, and he hinted that a couple other changes to the rotation could be coming based on practice performance this week.
“He’s outplayed those guys,” Marlin said. “I thought he played well the other night, had a couple of big 3-pointers for us.”
Wronkoski said his shooting stroke has felt solid lately, and acknowledged that he’s done a good job taking care of the ball. But there was another reason he felt played a role in him landing in the starting five.
“I’m just bringing a certain toughness to the starting lineup that I think we’ve been missing,” Wronkoski said. “I’m trying to play my role, get some minutes here and there and try to win some ball games.”