Texas State (5-11) at Louisiana (10-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, January 13, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajundome (12,800) -- Lafayette, Louisiana. Television: Sun Belt Network. Home Record: TSU 2-5, Louisiana 7-0. Away Record: TSU 1-5, Louisiana 2-5. Neutral Record: TSU 2-1, Louisiana 1-0. Conference Record: TSU 1-2, Louisiana 1-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Undefeated at home this season, the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana are set to host one of the newest additions to the Sun Belt Conference, the Texas State Bobcats.
The Cajundome has been very kind to Louisiana this season, as the team has produced seven wins in as many opportunities in the building. On Saturday, the Ragin' Cajuns easily took care of Texas-Arlington in their second league bout of the campaign, 90-70. The victory was the second in the last three outings for Louisiana, the loss being a double-overtime affair versus ULM on the road on Jan. 4.
As for the Bobcats, a team which competed in the Western Athletic Conference last year, they have struggled quite a bit during the transition and entered this past weekend with a total of just four wins in 15 opportunities. However, Texas State did manage to snap a three-game slide in Monroe, Louisiana with an overwhelming 61-36 win over the Warhawks.
Following this first-ever meeting between the teams, Texas State is set to host the Cajuns on Feb. 8 to complete the regular-season series.
Joel Wright recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Texas State Bobcats buried the Warhawks of ULM by 25 points over the weekend. Also scoring 14 points for the Bobcats was Wes Davis who knocked down 6-of-9 shots from the floor, while Kavin Tilbury accounted for 10 points in the triumph.
A starter in 11 of the 14 games in which he has appeared, Wright leads the Bobcats in scoring at the moment with his 15.1 ppg and is also tops on the glass with 6.3 rpg, although both of those numbers still make it difficult to forgive him for suffering almost three times as many turnovers (59) as assists (22). Emani Gant pitches in with 10.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg, but his particular deficiency takes place at the free-throw line where he is shooting only 55.0 percent, bringing the entire unit down to just 64.7 percent.
Louisiana knocked down a respectable 45.5 percent from the floor and a decent 9-of-22 behind the 3-point line in the meeting with UT-Arlington, but it was the team's 31-of-39 effort at the free-throw line that put them over the top. Shawn Long had a fantastic game coming off the bench, as he registered 22 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots, while fellow reserve Kasey Shepherd tacked on 17 points in a mere 18 minutes.
Also scoring in double figures for the Ragin' Cajuns were Elfrid Payton and Xavian Rimmer who both tallied 12 points and five rebounds, the former adding seven assists and three steals to his stat line as well.
One of the top offensive teams in the nation with a scoring average of 85.3 ppg, the Ragin' Cajuns enjoy a one-two punch unlike any other program currently. Long, a 55.6 percent shooter from the floor who is pacing the squad on the glass with 11.0 rpg and is also first with 47 blocked shots, accounts for an impressive 21.5 ppg, but as if that weren't enough, Payton checks in with another 20.1 ppg and is responsible for another 5.7 rpg. The only player to have started every game for Louisiana, Payton is also one of the best passers in the nation with 6.1 apg.
With a powerful offensive force led by Long and Payton, a lot has to go wrong for a team like Louisiana to find its way into the loss column versus Texas State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 82, Texas State 66
01/13 10:35:11 ET