Ragin’ Cajuns spoil senior night with season sweep

Beau Benoit

The Warhawks played their archrival, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, twice in a row, first hosting the Ragin’ Cajuns in Fant Ewing Coliseum, then making a trip to Lafayette to duke it out in the Cajun Dome. Both matches ended in a ULL victory.

Sunil Bishwokarma

Last Thursday’s match began with the Warhawks drawing first blood thanks to Russell Harrison’s layup. The two teams were ready trade blows, including a quick flash 14 minutes into the game when both teams racked up four points each in the span of just 48 seconds. Shortly after, the Warhawks made a sprint for the lead, going from down 18-15 to up 25-18. This was made possible by four Warhawks—Andre Jones, Nika Metskhvarishvili, Elijah Gonzalez and Harrison.

After a dunk by Jones, the Warhawks went into a drought that lasted six minutes and gave ULL a brutal 41-31 lead at the end of the half. 

Jones, Gonzalez and Harrison dominated the first half, together scoring 23 of the team’s 31 points. 

Niraj Shrestha

Jones got ULM’s offense back on track with five points in the first 30 seconds of play. With only two and a half minutes being played, the Warhawks trailed 46-41 and set the pace for the rest of the game. Both teams continued to fight, with ULM always chasing ULL. 

Tensions rose toward the end of the game and overtime was a strong possibility. Costly fouls gave Lafayette the perfect opportunity to pull ahead. A foul on Thomas Howell allowed the Ragin’ Cajuns to tie the game 77-77. Another foul on Gonzalez was all ULL needed to take the small yet invaluable lead of 78-77 with two seconds left to play. Unfortunately, the 28-point outing by Jones was not enough for a final win in Fant-Ewing. The desperation heave fell right off the rim and allowed ULL to escape victorious.

ULM had its rematch in Cajun country two days later. The matchup was one where the Warhawks would steal the lead from the Ragin’ Cajuns just for the momentum to swing in the closing moments.

 A jumper from Gonzalez brought the game to a tie at 20-20 for the first time in the contest at the midway point of the first half. Both teams scored sparingly for the next four minutes. They met each other on the scoring column again at 24-24 with five and a half minutes left in the first half. 

A dish from Harrison to Jones for a 3-pointer sparked the offense to finish out the half. The Warhawks entered the locker room up by nine. 

Out of the gate, Jones pushed the lead to 41-30 mere seconds after the start of the second half. It only took a few minutes for the Cajuns to cut the ULM lead down to one score. The Warhawks maintained their lead and even pushed ahead by nine with 13 and a half left to play. 

With a little over seven minutes left, a dunk by ULL’s Jalen Dalcourt tied the Ragin’ Cajuns with the Warhawks 58-58. From this point, ULL never had a deficit larger than four points. As the clock ticked with just three and a half minutes to go, ULL snatched the lead 68-66. 

At just two short minutes before the end, the two teams tied for the last time and the Warhawks never led again, falling short and losing 79-74.