Cajuns win tour opener
ALBACETE, Spain — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team won their first game in their trip to Spain, defeating Albacete, a semi-professional team, 93-71 Tuesday evening.
The Cajuns used a strong second half to pull away and breeze to a 22-point victory and open the tour 1-0.
The Cajuns fell into foul trouble in the first quarter, getting five fouls early in the game and putting Albacete into the bonus. In international basketball, a team only is allowed five fouls a quarter before sending their opponent to the line. Those fouls wash every quarter.
Albacete held on for the first quarter before getting into foul trouble in the second quarter, allowing the Cajuns to take a 53-38 lead going into the locker rooms at halftime.
The Cajuns spread the ball around in the first half, with senior Bryant Mbamalu leading the pack with 13 points.
Albacete exited the half with a bit of a spark, opening with a 9-4 run to cut the Cajuns’ lead to 57-47.
Louisiana responded immediately with the game’s best run for either side, scoring 16 of the next 21 points — six of those coming from senior Elridge Moore — to give the Cajuns a 73-52 lead.
Moore finished the game with 14 points, including a monster dunk in the first half, and eight rebounds.
The Cajuns added 20 more points in the fourth quarter, with six coming from sophomore Steven Wronkoski, to finish the game off in a convincing 93-71 fashion.
Junior Elfrid Payton led the Cajuns, posting the team’s lone double-double with 16 points, a team-high 11 assists and seven steals.
Mbamalu added four more points in the second half to lead the team with 17 points.
Also finishing in double figures for the Ragin’ Cajuns were Wronkoski with 11 and junior Kevin Brown with 13.
Wronkoski also added nine rebounds, tying fellow sophomore and former Morgan City High School standout Shawn Long for the team lead in that category. Moore was one behind them with eight rebounds.
Long also scored seven points in the victory and added three assists and a steal.
The Cajuns played their second game of the trip and final game in Albacete this afternoon.
The squad then will travel to Madrid, Spain, for the final leg of their tour and two more games.