UL-Lafayette defeats Panthers in rematch after championship game

In a much-anticipated rematch from last year’s Sun Belt championship game, Georgia State men’s basketball suffered defeat on the road at the hands of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns by a final of 84-80. The loss brings the Panthers’ record to 9-6 on the season and 2-2 in the conference.

First Half

Georgia State opened the game with a 9-0 that included R.J. Hunter making his first two shots from the field. Ryan Harrow also contributed a three-pointer and T.J. Shipes placed in a dunk that equaled the early nine point edge.

The Cajuns would get on the board first with a two-point jump shot from Louisiana-Lafayette junior forward Shawn Long. Cajuns senior guard Xavian Rimmer then made one free throw after being fouled by Curtis Washington bringing the score to 9-3.

The Panthers then embarked on a 7-0 that included a jump shot from Kevin Ware, Hunter’s first three-pointer of the game, and a two-pointer by Washington increasing their advantage to 16-3.

Georgia State then maintained their early 13-point advantage at 18-5, then later with scores of 21-8 and 22-9. Hunter’s third made three, which increased his point total to 14, extended the Panthers’ edge to 25-9, but Cajuns junior guard Steve Wronkoski answered with a three of his own making the margin 13 again at 25-12.

A layup from Shipes and a jumper from Ware expanded the Georgia State lead to 29-12 with under eight minutes to play.

The Panthers maintained their 17-point lead at 31-14, but two free throws by Long and a two-pointer by junior guard Kasey Shepherd cut the Louisiana-Lafayette deficit to 12 as the score became 31-18.

With the score at 33-20 in Georgia State’s favor, another layup from Washington was followed by Long only making one of two from the foul line after Washington picked up his third foul. Harrow’s sixth and seventh points of the game made it 37-22 with the Panthers leading.

The Cajuns then embarked on a 9-0 run. Four straight points from senior forward Brian Williams, a made free throw by sophomore guard Jay Wright, three straight points from junior forward Devonta Walker, and a layup by Long placed Louisiana-Lafayette to within 37-31.

The lead for Georgia State then was 39-33 before a three from Shepherd placed the Cajuns within three at 39-36. After Harrow’s following layup made it a five-point game at 41-36, Louisiana-Lafayette ended the first half with four consecutive points from Wright producing a halftime score of 41-40.

One notable statistic of the first half was that Louisiana-Lafayette shot 19 shots from the free throw line while Georgia State only had two.

Second Half

The Cajuns wasted no time picking up where they left off from the first half as a dunk from Walker gave them their first lead of the game at 42-41. Markus Crider was then fouled by Long and proceeded to make one of two from the free throw line tying the game at 42.

Wright’s ensuing three then gave Louisiana-Lafayette a 45-42 lead.

With the score at 47-44 in favor of the Cajuns, another three from Wright upped his total to 13 and the Louisiana-Lafayette lead to 50-44. One free throw from Washington, four straight points by Harrow, and a layup from Crider equaled a 7-0 Panthers run as they retook the lead, 51-50. Harrow then increased his point total to 17 as the Georgia State lead became 53-50.

The Panthers then took leads of 55-52 and 57-54 as the game progressed. Harrow’s 20th and 21st points increased the Georgia State lead to 59-54, but was called for a technical foul afterwards.

This placed Rimmer at the line, making his free throw and increasing the score to 59-55.

Georgia State maintained this lead at 61-57, and later at 63-59. With the score at 65-61 in favor of the Panthers, Williams made a three to increase his point total to 11 and bringing Louisiana-Lafayette within one at 65-64. Hunter’s fourth three gave him 21 for the game and increased the Georgia State lead to 68-64.

Louisiana-Lafayette retook the lead as they went ahead 73-68 via a 9-0 run. Three points from Long, a dunk by Walker and four consecutive points from Williams placed the Cajuns ahead by five.

Another three from Hunter and a layup by Harrow tied the game up at 73.

Williams then made one of two from the line after being fouled by Ware. This made it 74-73 in favor of Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Cajuns maintained their one-point advantage at 76-75, and later at 78-77 with less than a minute to play. Shepherd then made two free throws extending the Louisiana-Lafayette advantage to 80-77.

Harrow then made a pair of free throws after being fouled by Wright with 8.7 seconds left. Then, Walker was fouled by Jordan Session and made both of his free throws placing the Cajuns back ahead 82-79.

Hunter was then fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass to prevent Georgia State from shooting a game-tying three. He made the first free throw, but missed the second. Ware got an offensive rebound, but missed the shot.

A foul was then called against the Panthers to send Williams to the line with one-tenth of a second left. He made both of his free throws placing t Louisiana-Lafayette ahead by four at 84-80, the final score of the game.

Men’s basketball will return to the court on Saturday as they face Troy at 2 p.m. from the Sports Arena.

Final Stats
Georgia State Louisiana-Lafayette
Hunter: 27 points, 8-16 shooting Harrow: 25 points, 11-21 shooting
Williams: 20 points, 9-10 free throws Long: 16 points, 13 rebounds