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The Arkansas State University men's basketball team visited Lafayette, La., twice in the past week and a half. Twice the Red Wolves departed without a win, the latest loss the most costly.

ASU couldn't overcome a 10-point deficit over the final 41/2 minutes as Louisiana-Lafayette survived with a 73-66 victory Saturday at the Cajundome in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

The eighth-seeded Ragin' Cajuns (14-18, 8-12) advanced to Monday night's second round and will face fifth-seeded Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga.

The ninth-seeded Red Wolves' season ended by dropping nine of their final 10 games to finish 16-16 overall. ASU Coach Mike Balado is still without a winning season in his three years in Jonesboro. Balado is 40-56 overall and 21-35 in Sun Belt play.

Balado became furious with the officials late in Saturday's game and was hit with a technical foul after he argued there was a missed foul call on a game-tying three-point attempt in the closing seconds by senior guard Jerry Johnson.

Down 65-55 with 4:34 to go, ASU embarked on a 9-0 run to pull within one with 1:45 left.

Junior guard Marquis Eaton hit a jumper to pull ASU within 67-66 with 53 seconds to play. Louisiana-Lafayette guard Cedric Russell then hit a floater in the lane over Eaton to put the Ragin' Cajuns up 69-66 with under 30 seconds left.

On the ensuing possession, Johnson hoisted a three from the top of the key as Louisiana-Lafayette guard P.J. Hardy tightly contested the shot. Johnson's attempt was an air ball and found the hands of Russell, who ASU quickly fouled. Balado was irate and shouted from the sidelines.

Russell hit the front end of a one-and-one before a Ragin' Cajuns timeout, but Balado kept barking at the officials as ASU's team gathered for its timeout huddle. The referees issued a technical.

Russell hit his second free throw out of the timeout, then hit two more as a result of the technical as the Ragin' Cajuns took a seven-point lead with 13 seconds remaining to dash ASU's hopes.

The Red Wolves were led by a team-high 15 points and 7 rebounds from senior guard Canberk Kus. Junior forward J.J. Matthews added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Guard Mylik Wilson, the Sun Belt freshman of the year, led the Cajuns with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Forward Jalen Johnson recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds.

SOUTHLAND MEN

NORTHWESTERN STATE 100,

CENTRAL ARKANSAS 85

Northwestern (La.) State held a decisive rebounding advantage to knock off the University of Central Arkansas in the regular-season finale Saturday afternoon at the Farris Center in Conway.

The Demons (14-15, 11-9 Southland) outrebounded UCA 45-29 to send the Bears (10-21, 9-11) to their third consecutive loss.

Ryland Bergersen paced UCA with 25 points while Eddy Kayouloud put in 19 points, Aaron Weidenaar 16 points and Deandre Jones 14 points.

SOUTHWEST ATHLETIC MEN

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 74,

ARK.-PINE BLUFF 71

Caleb Hunter hit a three-pointer in the closing seconds to give Mississippi Valley State a season-ending victory over the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff at the H.O. Clemmons Arena in Pine Bluff.

Hunter, who made a steal with 20 seconds remaining, finished with a game-high 30 points for the Delta Devils (3-27, 3-15).

Terrance Banyard led the Golden Lions (4-26, 3-15) with 24 points, including a 12 of 13 performance from the free-throw line.

SUN BELT WOMEN

TROY 91,

ARKANSAS STATE 81

Japonica James scored 10 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter as Troy defeated Arkansas State University at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.

Troy (25-4, 16-2) outscored ASU 30-19 in the fourth quarter.

Morgan Wallace led Arkansas State (11-18, 8-10 Sun Belt) with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Jireh Washington hit 7 of 12 free throw attempts and finished with 14 points. Peyton Martin scored 8 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter.

SOUTHLAND WOMEN

CENTRAL ARKANSAS 80,

NORTHWESTERN STATE 62

Briana Trigg scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the University of Central Arkansas closed the regular season with a victory over Northwestern State at the Farris Central in Conway.

UCA (13-16, 9-11 Southland) opened up a 43-25 halftime lead and Northwestern State (7-22, 4-16) was never any closer than 11 in the second half.

Romola Dominguez added 18 points and Taylor Sells put in 13 for UCA.

SOUTHWEST ATHLETIC WOMEN

ARK.-PINE BLUFF 81,

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 59

Aiya El Hassan and Noe'll Taylor each scored 16 points as the University of Arkansas at Pine Biuff capped the regular season with a victory over Mississippi Valley State at the H.O. Clemmons Arena in Pine Bluff.

Kyeonia Harris added 13 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists for UAPB while Trasity Totten and Tyler Pyburn scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Sports on 03/08/2020

Print Headline: Red Wolves can't finish comeback

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