Louisiana-Lafayette pulls out win over North Alabama
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP)—Elijah Millsap scored a game-high 21 points as Louisiana-Lafayette pulled out a 79-67 season-opening victory over North Alabama on Wednesday night.
Chris Gradnigo added 15 points for Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0) and David Dees chipped in 12 and grabbed seven rebounds.
North Alabama’s Quinn Beckwith led the Lions (0-1) with 15 points. Casey Holt had 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Thomas Fraise added 14 and a team-high nine rebounds.
Louisiana-Lafayette’s first-half struggles carried over into the second half. Inexperience coupled with turnovers kept North Alabama within five points in the early stages of the second stanza.
With the Cajuns clinging to a 43-40 lead with less than 14 minutes left in regulation, North Alabama’s Phil Collins provided the equalizer at the 13:39 mark. A trio of free throws and two lay-ups by Millsap broke the game open, providing the Ragin Cajuns with a 50-43 lead with 11:11 remaining in the second half.
Louisiana-Lafayette had a chance to close the door on the Lions early, but Dees missed a wide-open dunk. Still, they increased the lead to as many as 13 points late in the second half, taking a 76-63 lead with 35 seconds remaining.