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NCAA Game Summary - Louisiana at Arkansas State

(Saturday, March 8th)

Final Score: Louisiana 77, Arkansas State 76

Jonesboro, AR ( - Elfrid Payton sank a go-ahead 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns edged the Arkansas State Red Wolves, 77-76, in the regular-season finale for both Sun Belt Conference teams at the Convocation Center.

Payton finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Ragin' Cajuns (20-11, 11-7 SBC), who were paced by Shawn Long with 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. With the win, Louisiana secured the third-seed in the conference tournament next week, getting a first-round bye and will take on the winner of the UT-Arlington versus UL-Monroe game.

For the Red Wolves (18-12, 10-8), Melvin Johnson III led all scorers with 28 points, while Ed Townsel scored 23 and Kendrick Washington just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds. Arkansas State goes into the tournament as the fourth-seed, earning a first-round bye and will await the winner of the UALR-Troy matchup.

ASU shot just 37.5 percent from the field in the first half, but managed to connect on 5-of-11 from beyond the arc as the Red Wolves went into halftime leading 38-35. Louisiana hit on 43.8 percent of its field goal tries, but just 3-of-14 from 3-point range in the opening period

After the break, the Ragin' Cajuns improved their outside shooting, sinking 6- of-10 from beyond the arc, which was part of a 48.3 percent shooting performance. The Red Wolves heated up as well, knocking down 52 percent of their field goal tries, including 4-of-6 from deep. ASU led 76-69 with 1:51 remaining in the game before Louisiana took over. Payton drained a 3-pointer, then put back his own miss to cut the lead to 76-74 with 1:04 left. Ed Townsel missed a jumper on the Red Wolves' next possession, setting the stage for Payton's game winning heroics. ASU had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but Rakeem Dickerson's layup with one second on the clock would not fall.

Louisiana dominated the paint, outscoring ASU down low, 36-22. The Ragin' Cajuns also finished with a 40-35 rebounding advantage on the night.

03/09 00:21:48 ET