Southern Miss, Georgia State, Louisiana-Monroe and South Alabama: as of Jan. 22, these teams have played eight games each and hold a combined conference record of 15–17. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns account for four of these losses. They won these four games by an average of 9.5 points, 10 rebounds and nearly 5 assists — a whole player’s worth of production. Their own record now stands at 16–4. In other words, the Cajuns have been in a great rhythm.
To further quantify how great this stretch of play is, remember that to start January last year, the Cajuns, facing these same teams, went 3–3 in their first six games with a negative point differential to bring their overall record to 9–8. The growth and development of the transfers that the team landed in 2021 cannot be overstated.
On Jan. 19, the Cajuns carried their momentum into the town of Jonesboro to face the 9–10 Arkansas State Red Wolves. Same story, different game; the team continued its new trend of finishing the first half with a great defensive stretch, not allowing a single Wolves basket for nearly five minutes of game time. They went into halftime with a commanding 13-point lead and kept up the pace in the second half to win 80–71.
One of the aforementioned transfers, junior forward Jordan Brown, had a monstrous game, matching his conference high of 31 points on 67% true shooting, 13 rebounds (five of them offensive!), three steals and three blocks. Sophomore guard Themus Fulks had a double-double of his own, racking up 13 points and 11 assists.
The Cajuns’ next stop was San Marcos for a matchup against the 10–10 Texas State Bobcats. This was a very different battle than the usual Cajuns game, as the Bobcats had no qualms getting very physical on defense — they actually managed to outrebound the Cajuns 30–29, but they committed 21 fouls in the process to allow a whopping 35 free throw attempts. The Cajuns would only capitalize on 17 of these for an abysmal 48.6% rate, which could have given the game away. The Bobcats failed to rally off these misses, though, and the Cajuns pulled away in the last five minutes to win 60–51.
The other 2021 Cajuns’ transfer, senior guard Greg Williams Jr., led all players in scoring in this bout with 22 points, 7–11 from the field and 6–10 from the stripe. Jordan Brown also had a quality outing with 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. For 37 minutes, Brown put on a defensive clinic as all Bobcats forwards were held to single digits.
In these two games, the Cajuns’ stars showcased their dominance yet again, displaying incredible versatility on both sides of the ball. Is there a push to claim the SBC title will be put to the test: next week will bring a real challenge as they face a home stand against the Troy Trojans and the Georgia Southern Eagles, two of the top six teams in the conference.