By the end of the night, UL men’s basketball coach Bob Marlin had some positive things to sink his teeth into after his Ragin’ Cajuns opened the 2019-20 season with a 95-67 rout of Loyola of New Orleans on Tuesday at the Cajundome.
He needed it. The day didn’t start off very well.
It didn’t take very long for the 2019-20 UL Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team to learn what the primary emphasis of the upcoming season is g…
When he went to sleep Monday evening, his team had two seniors on its roster in P.J. Hardy and reserve Mason Aucoin.
By midday, Hardy was indefinitely suspended from the squad, leaving UL with only one senior … at least for now.
“P.J. Hardy has been suspended indefinitely for a violation for team rules,” Marlin said after the win. “It’s disappointing. That took place this morning on game day.”
Asked if there’s any early notion on how long-term the suspension would be, Marlin chose to keep it simple for now.
“Indefinite,” he said. “It’s my decision.”
Making the challenge even greater in Tuesday’s game was that sophomore point guard Trajan Wesley continued to struggle with his foot again and only settled for 13 minutes in the first half.
Of the nine newcomers on UL’s 2019-20 men’s basketball team, none know exactly how much offense was lost off last year’s squad as much as the …
Fortunately, IUPUI transfer guard Calvin Temple found out Tuesday afternoon that he received an NCAA waiver and contributed four points, three steals, an assist and two rebounds.
“Calvin Temple helped himself by laying out on the floor,” Marlin said. “I thought that was a great hustle play.”
Depending on Wesley’s availability moving forward, Temple showed he can fill in.
“They’re different,” Marlin said. “Calvin doesn’t have the speed that Trajan has, but he’s a good shooter. He’s a better shooter than Trajan. He was nervous.
“He just found out today that he’s going to play and he’s missed some practice time. He can only get better.”
Freshman guards Mylik Wilson and Javonne Lowery both contributed as well. Wilson had 11 points four rebounds, four asissts and four steals in 33 minutes, while Lowery added seven points, one rebound and one assist in 19 minutes.
The UL Ragin’ Cajuns had their share of high and low points during last season’s 19-13, 10-8 showing.
“I learned that our bench depth is a lot further alone than I thought it was going to be,” transfer Jalen Johnson said. “They come in and they play hard. They might make a couple of mistakes, but they'll get after it. They’re diving on the floor, get rebounds, playing time. I loved it. That’s what I learned.”
Johnson was one of the stars of the night for the Cajuns, who will next play McNeese State at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Cajundome.
The Saint Louis transfer finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.
“It felt great to get back on a college basketball court, honestly,” Johnson said. “It’s been a while. I felt it too out there. I was like, ‘Man, Jalen, you’re finally back on the court. You’re back at home.’ It feels great. I’ve got a great group of guys around me.”
The most exciting newcomer, however, was undoubtedly 6-9 junior transfer Dou Gueye.
Gueye showed his multiple skills from handling the ball up the floor to shooting to rebounding to passing, collecting 15 points, nine rebounds and an assist.
“That’s what Dou does,” Marlin said. “He can make a three, he can do a little bit of everything. He turned it over too many times tonight. He tried to make the home-run pass.
“He’s a good passer, but tried to thread the needle instead of making the simple basketball play.”
When UL men’s basketball coach Bob Marlin began fall practice sessions this past week in preparation for the 2019-20 college basketball season…
The two other double-digit scorers were freshman Kobe Julien with 15 points and six rebounds, and junior guard Cedric Russell with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists.
“It’s good to get a win the first night out,” Marlin said. “We had six players I believe that had never played a Division I game. They played hard, but they threw it around the gym all night. I’m really disappointed in that. We should have handled their pressure a little better.”
UL outrebounded Loyola 51-28, shot 9-of-24 from long range and 53.6 from the field for the game. The down side was committing 22 turnovers.
Freshman Chris Spenkuch probably elevated his status more than anyone during the game with six points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes.
“I felt like Chris Spenkuch really helped himself in my mind,” Marlin said. “He rebounded the ball and he was aggressive. He made simple plays.
(Editor's Note: By all standards, the 2018-19 athletic school year was a disappointing one for many UL Ragin' Cajuns programs. This is the 10t…
“Chris was consistent. He’s been inconsistent in practice. I thought he gave us 14 really good minutes tonight, so he helped himself.”