Press Release from Arkansas State Athletics
The Arkansas State men's basketball team was dealt a 73-66 setback at Louisiana Saturday in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and saw its season come to a close.
A-State (16-16) led by as many as seven in the first half and rallied back to lead by two with 10 minutes to play before Louisiana (14-18) closed out the seven-point decision. Canberk Kus led A-State with 15 points and seven rebounds while J.J. Matthews added 14 points and 10 rebounds for his second-straight double-double. Jerry Johnson Jr. had 12 points and Caleb Fields added 10. Mylik Wilson paced the Ragin' Cajuns with 17 points.
A 12-2 run midway through the second half saw A-State grab a 49-48 advantage with 13:51 to play. A 3-pointer by P.J. Hardy rolled around the rim and dropped in sparking a 11-0 run in which the Cajuns took a 61-52 lead with 5:37 to play. The Red Wolves did not go away quietly, cutting the deficit to one on two different occasions, before the Cajuns scored the final six points of the game at the charity stripe.
Louisiana used the 3-point shot to power their offense in the first half, shooting 6-of-12 (50 percent) in the first 20 minutes. A-State struggled to 3-of-12 (25 percent) in the first half, but outscored the Cajuns 14-8 in the paint. The two sides combined for 29 free throws in the half, A-State hitting 10-of-14 (71 percent) and Louisiana converting 12-of-15 (80 percent). The Red Wolves led by as seven, but did not trail by more than four in the first period.
The Cajuns finished 38 percent (22-58) from the field, but hit just one 3-pointer in the second half to finish 7-of-19 (37 percent). Louisiana finished 22-of-27 (81 percent) at the stripe and edged the Red Wolves 43-38 on the glass. A-State shot 37 percent (22-60) on the afternoon, just 5-of-20 (25 percent) beyond the arc. The Red Wolves were 17-of-26 (65 percent) at the line.
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