LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – An early deficit was too much for UT Arlington to dig out from in Saturday afternoon’s 90-70 Sun Belt Conference loss to Louisiana at the Cajundome.
The Mavericks dropped to 6-10 on the season and 1-3 in Sun Belt play. UT Arlington is off until next Saturday’s trip to longtime conference rival Texas State.
The Rajun’ Cajuns (10-5, 1-1) broke the game open with an early 14-0 run fueled by 3-pointers. The Mavericks went from an 8-7 lead to a 21-8 deficit in less than four minutes.
UTA did get off to a good start with freshman forward Brandon Williams blocking Louisiana’s first shot leading to a fastbreak dunk from senior forward Brandon Edwards. Turnovers would become an issue for UTA in the first half, with the Mavericks giving up the ball 11 times.
Sophomore guard Luke Davis provided a spark off the bench with nine points in the half on three 3-pointers in his first significant playing time this season. The walk-on hadn’t scored in any of his four previous outings.
Williams had eight points and seven rebounds at the break, but the Mavericks
struggled from the floor. UTA went into the locker room shooting 36.4 percent (12-33) and down 45-27.
Louisiana extended its advantage past 20 early in the second half. The Rajun’ Cajuns were led by Shawn Long (22 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks), Kasey Shepherd (17 points) Elfrid Payton (12 points) and Xavian Rimmer (12 points).
Junior guard Lonnie McClanahan paced the Mavericks with a new career-high 27 points two days after scoring a then-career-best 25 against ULM. Edwards scored 10. Senior guard Shaquille White-Miller dished out five assists. Davis and Williams didn’t score in the second half.
UT Arlington and Louisiana will meet again Feb. 6 in Arlington at College Park Center. The Mavericks’ next home game is Jan. 23 against Troy.