They got it when it mattered most…ULL that is. Despite being swept 2-0 in the regular season by WKU, the Ragin Cajuns shut the door on the Tops to extend their post season.
The Cajuns led for most of this match up, and would stay that way until the later minutes of the second half when WKU would give them a run for their money. The Tops would take the lead and hold it by one when O’Karo Akamune would step to the free throw line for two shots. He would miss both of the free throws…allowing Elfrid Payton to go the full length of the court and seal the deal with an easy layup…leaving WKU one point short of the Championship game and the hopes of entering the big dance.
From the get-go you could tell that ULL had come to play with revenge against the Tops, and had a full head of steam headed in their favor. Bryant Mbamalu was the leading force early, which would help Elfrid Payton have another one of his amazing games. As a team the Cajuns shot 53% from the floor…27% from the 3…and 60% from the FT line. ULL out rebounded the Tops with 33 rebounds. The Cajuns also dominated WKU in the paint, as 42 points would be placed on the scoreboard from the painted area.
The main Cajun contributors were Mbamalu (23pts; 5 reb) and Payton (23pts; 7 reb; 9 ast). They were the only double digit scorers for ULL. These guys were helped by Shawn Long (9pts; 3 reb), Elridge Moore (8pts; 7 reb) and JJ Davenport (6pts; 5 reb).
As for WKU they had a good game…just fell two free throws short. As a team the Hilltoppers shot 53% from the floor…47% from behind the arc…and their pitfall 56% from the charity stripe. The Tops scored 19 points off of turnovers…and had true bench support as the guys who checked in knocked down 35 points.
The main Hilltopper performers were T.J. Price (16pts; 5 reb), George Fant (16pts; 1 reb), and Brandon Harris (11pts; 2 ast). WKU haas struggled all season with consistency as a whole…but especially at the free throw line. As many people preach…as I have this season as well…free throws can win or lose ball games, and the lack of consistency didn’t just lose a ball game for WKU tonight…it cost them the rest of their season.
Now we change our focus to tomorrows Championship match up between Georgia State and ULL! The game will be aired nationally on ESPN2 at noon as one of the teams will have their ticket punched to the big dance! Things are going to be fun, so make sure to tune in! So until then, have a great rest of your evening!