Duquesne (7-5) at Louisiana (4-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajundome (11,550) -- Lafayette, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Duquesne 6-1, ULL 3-2. Away Record: Duquesne 1-3, ULL 1-6. Neutral Record: Duquesne 0-1, ULL 0-0. Conference Record: Duquesne 0-0, ULL 1-1. Series Record: DU leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Duquesne Dukes step into the Cajundome to tangle with the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns for a non-conference matchup.
Duquesne improved to 6-1 at home this season with Wednesday night's 71-66 triumph over Western Michigan. It marked the third win in the last four outings for the Dukes, who are now about to embark on their longest road trip of the season. The Dukes have gone just 1-4 away from home this season, and won't return to the Palumbo Center until Jan. 12.
Louisiana is playing its final non-conference tuneup before visiting Arkansas State in Sun Belt Conference play on Thursday. The Ragin' Cajuns have veered in the wrong direction of late, dropping three of their last four contests, including Tuesday's 66-61 home loss to Robert Morris. However, three of the team's four wins on the season have come inside the Cajundome.
Duquesne claimed an 84-65 win over the Ragin' Cajuns last season in Palumbo, which was the only prior meeting all-time between these two programs.
Duquesne's starting backcourt of Derrick Colter and Sean Johnson combined for 43 points in the win over Western Michigan. Colter tallied a career-best 25 points, while Johnson scored 18 for the Dukes, who knocked down a season-high 12 3-pointers as a team and led from start to finish. Andre Marhold added 9 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win. Defensively, DU held the Broncos to 35.4 percent shooting from the floor. Johnson and Colter have supplied the bulk of the team's offense this season, as Johnson leads the way with 12.7 points per game, while Colter is right on his heels with 12.3 ppg. However, that duo has combined to take 36 percent of the team's shot attempts, and both players are shooting below 40 percent.
Louisiana has gone through some growing pains with a roster that features six freshmen and four sophomores. One of those freshmen, Shawn Long, averages a team-best 16.7 points and 9.3 boards per contest. Long has recorded six double-doubles and four 20-point games in what is shaping up to be the start of a very promising career. Sophomore guard Elfrid Payton chips in with 13.7 ppg and 6.4 rpg while pacing the Sun Belt Conference with 60 assists and 32 steals. Junior Bryant Mbamalu rounds out ULL's double-digit scorers with 11.8 ppg behind a team-high 19 3-pointers. Earlier this week, the Ragin' Cajuns outscored Robert Morris in the paint, 40-16, and held a 20-6 edge in points off turnovers. However, they also committed 17 turnovers and went just 8-of-17 at the foul line and 3-of-19 from beyond the arc. Mbamalu tallied a team-high 21 points in the loss, while Payton scored 19, and Long finished with 12 points and 13 boards.
The Ragin' Cajuns have had a rough go of it lately, but their size presents a favorable matchup against a Duquesne squad that relies heavily on its backcourt.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 71, Duquesne 67
12/22 10:40:12 ET