Louisiana made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014 and matched up with the Tennessee Volunteers. The Cajuns rallied late into the second half to make it an interesting finish, but Tennessee was just too much for the Cajuns as the Vols hung on to win 58-55.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Tennessee opened the game with a potent offense, jumping out to a 10-4 lead just a few minutes in. However, Louisiana closed the first stanza of the contest on a 7-0 run to lead 11-10 at the first media timeout with 14:44 left in the first half. Jordan Brown had six early points on 3-4 shooting.
Tennessee roared back to take a six-point lead with a 7-0 run of their own to make it 17-11 Vols with 11:44 remaining in the first half. Out of the first media timeout, Rick Barnes had his team in a zone defense, something Louisiana has struggled to beat throughout the season.
After falling down 19-11, Louisiana roared back on an 8-0 run to tie it back up at 19-19 with 4:12 remaining in the first half. Tennessee just had no answer for Jordan Brown to this point.
Louisiana went into the locker room trailing by 11 with a 30-19 halftime score. The Cajuns shot 8/27 from the field in the first half, with Jordan Brown leading the team with 12 of their 19 points.
Tennessee began the second half outscoring Louisiana 7-4 to hold a 37-23 lead over the Cajuns. Louisiana still couldn’t get a shot to fall from downtown and a few lazy turnovers cost the Cajuns easy points for the Vols on the other end.
The Volunteers continued their great start to the second half, outscoring the Cajuns 11-7 in the next run to hold a 48-30 lead. Louisiana has only made one three-pointer in the contest and just hasn’t been able to find their offense thus far in the second half.
Right after that sequence, Kobe Julien erupted for 11 points to lead a 13-0 run to cut the lead to five points with 7:19 to go. Louisiana has held Tennessee scoreless for several minutes to get back in this game.
At the final media timeout, Louisiana trailed Tennessee 54-45 after cutting the lead to five earlier in the half. The Cajuns shot the ball much better through the second half than they did in the first, but Tennessee is playing strong defense down the stretch to corral the Cajuns’ late rally.
The Cajuns got the offense going again to cut it to three points with 23 seconds to go in the game.
Louisiana couldn’t find a last-minute rally as they fell to Tennessee 58-55.
BIG NUMBER: 6
Louisiana made six three-pointers in the second half after missing all of their attempts in the first half.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Kobe Julien
Julien was influential for the Cajuns down the stretch, scoring 15 points on 5-9 shooting.