LAFAYETTE, La. — A 15-4 run by Louisiana-Lafayette midway through the second half proved to be the difference as Arkansas State fell 81-68 Friday at the Cajundome.
A-State (5-7, 2-3 Sun Belt) led 31-27 at the half, but UL Lafayette (10-4, 4-3 Sun Belt) outscored the Red Wolves 54-37 in the second half for the final margin.
Marquis Eaton paced the Red Wolves with 15 points and four assists while Norchad Omier posted his sixth double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, his ninth-straight outing with 10 or more rebounds. Malcolm Farrington added 11 points off the bench. Cedric Russell led UL Lafayette with 26 points and Theo Akwuba had a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds.
The Red Wolves led for much of the first half, trailing by two, 10-8, with 12:28 to go in the first frame. A seven-point advantage, 28-21, with 2:25 to go was the largest lead in the frame coming on the heels of a 9-4 spurt by the Red Wolves. A-State limited the Cajuns to 35 percent from the field and just 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) beyond the arc and took a 31-27 lead to the break.
Following an Omier layup with 16:49 on the second half clock, the Red Wolves went 7:38 without a field goal. With A-State leading 46-45 with 12:08 to play, UL Lafayette went on a 15-4 run to lead 60-50 with 7:37 remaining. The Red Wolves were unable to get within nine points the remainder of the game as the Cajuns knocked down 14-of-16 at the line in the second half.
UL Lafayette limited the Red Wolves to 35 percent (19-55) shooting on the night and just 4-of-15 (.270) from 3-point range. The Cajuns finished 46 percent (31-67) from the field, but just 3-of-19 (.160) beyond the arc. Both teams shot 84 percent at the charity stripe, with A-State knocking down 26-of-31 compared to 16-of-19 for the Cajuns. UL Lafayette won the board battle 39-33 and outscored the Red Wolves 38-24 in the paint.
A-State closes the two-game series today at UL Lafayette with tipoff set for 4 p.m.