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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 11, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajundome (11,500) -- Lafayette, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Oakland 1-0, Louisiana 0-0. Away Record: Oakland 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Conference Record: Oakland 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns are set to begin their season with a non-conference tilt with the Oakland Golden Grizzles at the Cajundome this evening.
Oakland coasted to a 96-62 victory over Albion of the Division III in its opener after shooting the lights out from beyond the arc (9-of-180. The Grizzlies are seeking their fourth 2-0 start since joining the Division I level in 1999-2000. Coach Greg Kampe is now in his 29th season at the helm of the program and enters the contest with a 490-349 career record.
Louisiana has excitement building around the program after last season's solid performance. The Ragin' Cajuns finished with an overall record of 16-16 (their best since 2008) and finished 10-6 in Sun Belt Conference action. Third year head coach Bob Marlin has a difficult task of repeating that success as only four players are back from that team. The Ragin' Cajuns will have 10 new players in uniform.
This will be the first-ever meeting between these schools on the hardwood.
The Golden Grizzlies are a very tough team to stop because of their star shooting guard Travis Bader. The junior comes in 33 points shy of 1,000 after posting 27 in 16 minutes in the team's opener. Senior forward Drew Valentine has a bruising style of play inside. He has posted at least 10 points and five rebounds in 33 career games. Oakland has very good role players surrounding its stars. Duke Mondy is a steady pass first point guard and Corey Petros is an effective rebounder. Ryan Bass provides a spark every time he is inserted in the lineup.
Louisiana has a new centerpiece in its starting lineup as freshman forward Shawn Long (6-9, 243) makes his debut. The athletic big man averaged 9.1 blocks per game as a high school senior. Long will form a strong nucleus inside with Eldridge Moore (6-5, 195). Point guard Elfrid Payton may be the future of the team. Last season as a 17-year old freshman, Payton averaged 7.2 points and 3.0 assists per game. Bryant Mbamalu is one of Louisiana's top scoring options returning as he showed by scoring 27 points versus Troy last season.
Although the Ragin' Cajuns lost some key components from their successful team from last season, they have a lot of young potential. Payton has a chance to step into the spotlight and will benefit from Long's imposing presence. The Golden Grizzlies are going to be a tough opponent, especially if Bader gets into a rhythm.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 74, Oakland 72
11/11 10:44:14 ET
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