Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns
Comeback falls short for Cajuns
ATLANTA – Frank Bartley scored a career-high 31 points, highlighted by a 7-for-15 performance from behind the 3-point line, but D'Marcus Simonds hit a pair of free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining to lead Georgia State to an 85-82 victory over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at GSU Sports Arena.
Simonds scored a team-high 19 points as GSU (15-7, 8-2 SBC) won its seventh straight game and remained in a tie for first place in the league standings. Malik Benlevi added 17 points for the Panthers with Jeremy Hollowell adding 16.
Georgia State never trailed in the contest against Louisiana (14-9, 4-6 SBC), building a 37-17 lead with 8:03 remaining in the first half as Simonds went coast-to-coast off a rebound. Louisiana chipped away at the lead, closing to 49-37 on a 3-pointer by Bartley with 19 seconds remaining in the half before Benlevi answered in the final seconds for the Panthers for a 52-37 lead at the half.
The Panthers led 76-60 on a bucket by Willie Clayton with 10:04 remaining and 81-71 on a Jeff Thomas 3-pointer with 5:29 remaining before Louisiana staged a comeback, holding GSU without a field goal for the remainder of the game.
Louisiana trailed 83-77 with 2:07 remaining before Bryce Washington sank the second of two free throws, Jay Wright scored off a steal and Johnathan Stove hit a jumper in the paint that cut the lead to 83-82 with 55 seconds left.
Hollowell missed a 3-pointer on GSU's next possession and the Ragin' Cajuns worked the ball into Washington, whose layup attempt fell short in the final seconds. After Simonds hit two free throws with 3.7 seconds left, Louisiana had a chance to send the game to overtime but P.J. Hardy's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer fell short.
Bartley finished 10-for-18 from the floor for Louisiana and 4-for-5 from the free throw line as the Ragin' Cajuns outscored GSU, 45-33, in the second half. Wright scored 20 points and added three steals for the Ragin' Cajuns while Washington posted his 17th double-double of the year after scoring 11 points and grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds.
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