UL Opens Season with 90-79 Win Over Oakland

UL Opens Season with 90-79 Win Over Oakland

LAFAYETTE -- It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was downright gritty at times, but Louisiana opened the 100th season of Cajun basketball with an aggressive 90-79 victory over Oakland at the Cajundome Sunday afternoon.

Junior guard Bryant Mbamalu posted his 15th career double-figure scoring effort (15 points, 5-10 from the field) and was matched in the scoring totals by junior forward Eldridge Moore who had a strong overall effort in his first game as a Cajun.

Freshman forward Shawn Long, also in his first game as a Cajun, and sophomore guard Elfrid Payton both contributed 14 points.

Long gathered six rebounds and Payton dished eight assists to lead Louisiana in those categories, but it was a total team effort that would have pleased legendary former coach Beryl Shipley, whose family was honored with a bust unveiled at halftime.

The Cajun bench contributed 32 points as 11 players tallied minutes in the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Oakland (1-1) was paced by 30 points from Duke Mondy, who was joined in double figures by Travis Bader (16), Drew Valentine (16) and Corey Petros (12).

"I'm very proud of our basketball team to come back and beat a very good Oakland team, a team that has been in post-season play four years in a row, has won 20 four years in a row and will be in post-season somewhere this year," stated Louisiana coach Bob Marlin.

Louisiana (1-0) took an early first half lead as Mbamalu and Payton combined for back to back buckets.

The visitors answered as Valentine, who canned six of Oakland's first 10 points, evened the score at 10 with 14:55 to play.

From there the Golden Grizzlies slowly built their lead as Bader drew a bead on the basket and deposited two treys in the next minute and a half.

When Mondy drained a three-pointer with 7:11 to play, the visitors' lead was established.

In spite of a strong Louisiana effort to rally, the Cajuns trailed the rest of the half and exited for the dressing room down 42-37.

The Cajuns returned to the floor hot, beginning the second stanza with a deuce from Moore and a trey from Mbamalu to even the score at 42.

Alan-Michael Thompson followed with a three, Long and Moore contributed consecutive baskets and the Cajuns' run had begun.

When Mbamalu recovered an errant cross-court toss in the corner,regained his balance and drained a basket at 11:16, Louisiana found itself up, 63-55.

Mbamalu added a trey a minute later, Kevin Brown added three the old-fashioned way and four minutes deeper the margin was seven, 69-62.

Brown added a dagger three from the corner nearest the Cajun bench with five minutes remaining in the contest and Payton followed with a lay-up seconds later to put the home team up 77-69.

When Steven Wronkoski added a hoop-and-harm for an 81-69 lead with 3:56 left, the Cajuns were in complete control.

The Cajuns return to action November 16 in Houston against Texas Southern and face Boise State on the road two days later before returning to the Cajundome November 21 for a date with Southern University-New Orleans.

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