Long scores 17 in ULL win

LAFAYETTE – Bryant Mbamalu scored 18 points and former Morgan City High School standout Shawn Long added 17 points and eight rebounds as the Ragin’ Cajuns tipped off their 100th season of basketball with a 92-72 exhibition win against Loyola-New Orleans Tuesday night in the Cajundome.

Louisiana’s lone exhibition game was decided early as the Cajuns made 14 of their 18 first-half three-point attempts to build a 69-27 halftime lead.

Along with his points and rebounds, Long also recorded an assist and a block in the victory. Of his points, nine of them came from behind the three-point line as the redshirt freshman hit on three of four attempts.

While ULL dominated the game in the first half, the shots did not fall in the second half as Loyola fought back to make it a game.

With just four players returning from the 2011-12 squad that finished 16-16 and went to the postseason for the first time since 2002-03, the game served as the debut for eight Cajuns.

“I have said all along that the three-point shot should be a weapon for us this season, and tonight was a great example,” head coach Bob Marlin said in a university news release. “We have seven guys on this team who I feel comfortable when they get an open three, and all seven of them made shots tonight.

“I thought we made good decisions on offense and did a nice job of passing the ball to the open man in the first half. We got a lot of open shots and converted them.

“In the second half, we slowed things down by design, limited our pressure and worked on our half-court game. That was my call because I didn’t want to score 120 points,” Marlin added.

The game definitely featured the two extremes for the Cajuns.

UL shot a blistering .722 from the field (26-36), including an astonishing 14-for-18 from three-point territory (.778) in the first half to blow open the game. The Cajuns had a 21-4 rebounding advantage, forced nine turnovers while committing just one and handed out 15 assists on 26 baskets.

The second half was the exact opposite as Louisiana made just eight of its 29 second half shots (.276), including two-for-13 from beyond the three-point line (.154), while Loyola converted 12 of their 21 shots (.571). More importantly, the Wolfpack dominated at the foul line, going 29-for-36 (.806), while UL was just eight-for-12 (.667).

The game was tied twice early, but the Cajuns used a 15-2 run to break open a 7-7 tie and take a 22-9 lead with 13:20 left on a dunk by Matthew Moss.

The lead continued to build when six different Cajuns combined to convert eight straight treys to push the lead to 51-19 with 5:41 left in the half.

Following a Mbamalu missed trey at the 5:12 mark, UL made four more treys down the stretch to take a 69-27 halftime advantage.

Alan-Michael Thompson, who played in all 32 games last year with one start, added 10 points for ULL.

All 12 Cajuns who played scored at least one basket and 11 of the 12 players grabbed at least one rebound.

With their only exhibition game complete, the Cajuns will now turn their attention to Oakland on Sunday in their 2012-13 regular season and home opener at 4 p.m. in the Cajundome.

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