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Louisiana-Lafayette Eliminates Furman In CIT Second Round, 80-72

Stephen Croone
Stephen Croone

Greenville, S.C. -- Kasey Shepherd scored 18 points to lead four Ragin' Cajuns in double figures as Louisiana-Lafayette built an 18-point first half advantage and held on to down Furman, 80-72, in the second round of the Postseason Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Timmons Arena.

With the victory, Louisiana improved to 19-14 on the season and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIT. The Paladins, who saw their 11-game home winning streak come to an end, finished the season at 19-15.

The Ragin' Cajuns took advantage of a cold-shooting Furman team in the opening 9:19 as they raced out to a 27-9 lead behind nine points and seven rebounds from forward Devonta Walker. Six straight points from Devin Sibley trimmed the Louisiana lead to 10 points and a Sibley basket with 55 seconds left in the half cut the lead to nine before the Ragin' Cajuns scored back-to-back buckets to take a 41-28 advantage into the locker room.

Louisiana maintained its double digit lead throughout the second half until Stephen Croone's trey with 1:09 to play cut the margin to 75-66. After a Walker dunk, Croone drained another long triple to pull Furman within eight points at 77-69, but Walker converted on 3-of-4 free throws in the final 28 seconds to make sure the Paladins got no closer.

The Ragin' Cajuns shot 47.4% from the field and connected on 20-of-28 free throw attempts, while holding Furman to 43% shooting from the floor. The Paladins made just 12-of-24 free throw attempts, including 6-for-16 in the first half.

Shepherd hit 6-of-11 shots to pace Louisiana. Walker finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Jay Wright totaled 17 points and Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Shawn Long added 10 points before fouling out.

Croone, who finished his career ranked fifth in Furman history with 1,936 points, netted 29 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including a 5-for-11 effort from three-point range. He added five rebounds and four assists in his last game as a Paladin. Sibley accounted for 15 points and Daniel Fowler added 10.

Louisiana outscored the Paladins 38-30 in the paint, 11-8 off of turnovers and 14-11 on second chance opportunities.

Furman finished its season with a school record 14 home victories at Timmons Arena, including its first postseason home victory in school history.

Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information