Cajuns Advance in CIT With 83-68 Comeback Win
For the first time since 1992, The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are advancing in the postseason.
Freshman Bryce Washington scored a career high 25 points and the Ragin’ Cajuns roared back from a 13 point first half deficit to defeat Incarnate Word 83-68 in the first round of the College Insider Tournament at the McDermott Convocation Center in San Antonio, TX before 1,811 fans.
Washington made 11-14 from the field, most of them on layups. He also had four rebounds and two assists in the game.
Hayward Register chipped in 12 points and Shawn Long scored eleven, but it was the Cajuns’ passing that was the most impressive part of the game.
The Cajuns had assists on 24 of their 30 field goals in the game. Jay Wright led the way with eight assists, while Long had a career high with five as did Tiremone Williams. Johnathan Stove chipped in three assists.
Williams entered the game in the first half when Wright picked up his second foul and re-entered when the Cajuns’ point guard picked up his third early in the second half. Williams tied his career high with six points and added a rebound and two steals in 17 minutes.
Incarnate Word (18-11) never trailed in the first half as Kyle Hittle and Denzel Livingston combined for 24 of the Cardinals’ 38 first half points. Hittle scored five straight points to spark a 7-0 run that gave UIW their biggest lead, 26-13, with 10:01 to play in the half.
But the Cajuns started their comeback by scoring six straight points as Long got a dunk and Washington added two free throws and a layup to cut the lead to 30-24 and after the Cardinals re-built their lead to ten, the Cajuns scored the last five points of the first half on a dunk by Devonte Walker and a Kasey Shepherd triple and trailed 39-34 at intermission.
The next fifteen minutes belonged to Louisiana.
Wright hit a three from the corner and Washington scored six straight to cap a 9-0 run to give the Cajuns the lead 43-39. After Shawn Johnson hit a three pointer to get the Cardinals within one, Louisiana put the game away with another run of 18-3 to blow the game open, 61-46 with 11:54 left. Shepherd’s three pointer with 7:39 to go gave Louisiana its biggest lead, 71-49 and end a 52-10 run .
The Cajuns’ defense smothered UIW in the second half, holding the Cardinals to 36.4 percent shooting. Hittle, who scored 17 in the first half, was 1-6 after intermission, while Livingston, the nation’s third leading scorer at 22.0 per contest, went scoreless and finished with seven points.
Incarnate Word had won 25 of their last 28 games at home over the last two seasons prior to Tuesday night.
It was the first non-conference tournament win for the Cajuns since Marty Fletcher’s club upset Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA tournament 23 years ago. Since then, the Cajuns had been 0-7 (0-4 NCAA, 0-2 NIT, 0-1 CIT).
Louisiana (21-13) will now wait to see who their opponent will be in the round of sixteen. The Cajuns will be traveling for the second straight game because the CAJUNDOME is not available. The opponent and the date will be announced after all first round games are played.