The University of Louisiana at Lafayette men’s basketball team broke the school record for wins in a season on Thursday night with their 26th, defeating the Arkansas State Red Wolves 85-74.
In a game that was a close struggle early, the Ragin’ Cajuns eventually pulled away at the end of the first half with a 12-point lead at halftime. Louisiana then took full control and pushed the lead to as much as 24 in the second half, securing the 15th consecutive home win of what has been a historic season.
Senior guard Frank Bartley led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 18 points in route to 1,000 for his career, becoming the 47th player in the history of the program to reach the mark. He achieved 1,000 in the first half with a three-point play. A Brigham Young University transfer, he is the ninth player in school history to accomplish this in just two years with the program, joining the likes of Andrew Toney and Bo Lamar.
Forwards Bryce Washington and JaKeenan Gant chipped in 15 and 12 points respectively, while Marcus Stroman led the team with 8 assists. Louisiana’s bench outscored Arkansas State’s by 16, 27-11. Louisiana also shot a significantly higher percentage from deep, making 48% (10/21) of their 3-point shots to just 20% (1/5) for Arkansas State.
Guard Jonathan Stove (8 points) suffered an apparent ankle injury in the first half and was helped off the court. He would return to the game in in the second half to an applause from the crowd.
Red Wolves guard Ty Cockfield had a game-high 25 points in a loss.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are now 26-4 and have clinched the outright Sun Belt Conference Championship. Feb. 24’s win against the University of South Alabama guaranteed the league championship and the No. 1 seed in next week’s Sun Belt tournament. Winning the upcoming conference tournament would give Louisiana an NCAA Tournament berth.
“These seniors seem like they’re checking off another box just about every day,” Ragin’ Cajuns head men’s basketball coach Bob Marlin said. “…We want to make sure we continue to push because we’ve still got a lot of goals to accomplish.”
On Feb 26., basketball operations director Michael Murphy highlighted the team’s desire to accomplish more.
“Here’s the thing: What have we accomplished?” he said. “And this is something we’ve told the kids: You haven’t accomplished anything yet.”
Louisiana will close the regular season with a 7 p.m. game at home against the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on Saturday. The game will be “Senior Night”, where seniors Bartley, Stove, Washington, Jacob Broussard, and Larenz Stalcup will be honored.