RAGIN CAJUNS FALLS SHORT AT MONTANA STATE, 84-83
BOZEMAN, Mont. – Joe Mvuezolo hit a pair of go-ahead free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining and Montana State withstood a furious second-half comeback by the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to claim a wild 84-83 victory on Monday at Worthington Arena.
Tyler Hall scored 28 points to lead Montana State (1-1), which led by 16 points with 7:17 remaining before Louisiana (0-2) rallied to take an 83-82 lead on a bucket by Johnathan Stove with 30 seconds remaining.
Montana State pulled away from a 41-41 halftime contest as it opened the second half on a 14-4 run to build a 55-45 lead. After Louisiana came back to take a 59-58 lead on two free throws by Stove with 12:14 remaining, the Bobcats went on an 18-1 run that was capped by Sam Neumann 3-pointer for a 76-60 lead with 7:17 remaining.
The Bobcats led 78-63 with 5:11 remaining after a bucket by Harald Frey, but Louisiana would score the next 14 points as Jay Wright recorded three of his career-high six steals to stop three straight Montana State possessions.
Frank Bartley IV, who scored a career-high 29 points, scored seven straight points for the Ragin’ Cajuns, beginning with a three-point play with 4:01 remaining before sinking four free throws with 3:31 left.
Stove scored on two straight buckets for Louisiana, including his go-ahead drive to the basket, but Mvuezolo rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Hall in the final seconds and made both free throws to put the Bobcats up for good.
Bartley, who finished 8-for-15 from the floor and 6-for-11 from behind the 3-point line, had a chance to win it for the Cajuns after a timeout, but his desperation jumper from halfcourt fell short.
Wright scored 14 points and dished out four assists for Louisiana with Bryce Washington scoring 12 points and grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. Justin Miller added 11 points, going 9-for-11 from the free throw line, in his first career start for Louisiana with Scott Plaisance coming off the bench to score six points and grab five rebounds.
Louisiana finished 21-for-58 from the floor, 7-for-21 from behind the 3-point line and was 34-for-54 from the free throw line.
Frey and Zach Green scored 16 points each for Montana State, which finished 25-for-54 from the floor and 9-for-26 from behind the 3-point line.
Louisiana will return to action on Thursday when it plays Panhandle State in a 7 p.m. contest at Blackham Coliseum.