The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns received a favorable end-of-season schedule when the Sun Belt Conference released its 2022-23 slate. With Louisiana playing seven of its final 10 games at home, head coach Bob Marlin and his team have taken full advantage and then some.
Riddled with pre-season accolades that are starting to become reality, the Cajuns are riding a conference-best 10-game win streak following dominant victories over the Texas State Bobcats and the Marshall Thundering Herd.
The only thing the Cajuns didn’t top Texas State in on Feb. 2 was rebounding, giving up twice as many offensive boards (14) as their team total (7). The extra opportunities given up didn’t stop Louisiana from going up 19 and sealing a 82–63 conference win.
Shooting 57.1% from the field and draining half of their 3-point attempts helped the Cajuns run up the score on Texas State. The Bobcats were no better than roadkill, shooting just 43.1% on the night and hitting only one of their seven 3-point attempts.
Louisiana continued riding the hot hand of senior guard Greg Williams Jr., who finished with 23 points on 7–10 shooting in 34 minutes of action, easily the most efficient scorer on the floor.
Redshirt sophomore guard Themus Fulks was in sync with junior forward Jordan Brown all evening, with Fulks finding Brown in the paint for one easy basket after another. Fulks finished with 11 points and nine assists while Brown scored 16 on 7–9 shooting with seven rebounds.
The Cajuns’ defense was aggressive and opportunistic all night, forcing eight steals and 10 total turnovers in addition to the Bobcats’ abysmal shooting performance.
On Feb. 4, the night Louisiana honored its three seniors — forward Terence Lewis II, guard Jalen Dalcourt and Williams Jr. — for Senior Night, the Cajuns could once again do little wrong in a 77–67 conference victory over Marshall.
An evening full of flair and festivities saw a season-high in attendance at the Cajundome, plenty of antics from the Fabulous Cajun Chicken’s return, a Harlem Globetrotter-like effort to create a highlight reel for the three seniors, and Louisiana’s most significant win so far this season.
Brown opened the game’s scoring with a two-point jumper assisted by Fulks 22 seconds into the contest. The Cajuns would go on to lead the rest of the way, never trailing nor tying once.
Brown, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, drew oohs and aahs from the crowd routinely on his way to finishing with 26 points and 20 rebounds, notching the Cajuns’ fourteenth double-double as a team and his fifth this season. Brown also became the only SBC player with a 20–20 performance this year.
The duo of Brown and Lewis II combined for 30 rebounds on the night. The latter of the two scored eight points along with his 10 boards.
As evident from the first basket of the game, the harmonious rapport between Fulks and Brown was on display again. Fulks shot 4–6 from the field scoring 12 points and tallying seven assists.
Williams Jr. once again lit up the scoreboard with his fifth consecutive 20-point performance, scoring 20 points on 8–14 shooting. In his last five games, the Lafayette native is averaging 21.4 points per contest and shooting a stellar 57.8% from the field.
Louisiana’s defense excelled once again, forcing Marshall to take tough shots all evening and holding them to just 38.7% shooting. The defense racked up 11 steals and 17 turnovers in total.
The Cajuns’ win over the Thundering Herd, who entered the Cajundome third in the SBC and left in the same position, boosts their seeding odds for the upcoming SBC Tournament beginning Feb. 28 and puts them in a tie for first place in the conference with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Louisiana will travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for their next game on Feb. 9 against said first-place counterpart Southern Miss. Should the Cajuns continue their recent level of play against the Golden Eagles, it’ll go a long way in securing the top seed in the SBC Tournament as well as an automatic bid in the NCAA Men’s Tournament in March.