Kasey Shepherd tied his career high with 22 points and the Ragin' Cajuns rolled to a dominating 76-52 win over Oral Roberts on Tuesday in its final game of the MGM Grand Main Event at the MGM Grand.
Shepherd filled up the stat line with 22 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals, while also hitting four threes. He was one of four Cajuns (2-3) to reach double figures on the night, with UL finished with 10 players in the scoring column.
Additionally, the Cajuns finished the night shooting 51.8 percent from the field for the night, while moving to 5-2 all-time against ORU (1-3).
"Kasey (Shepherd) played very well tonight, tying his career high that he had at Louisiana Tech last year," Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said. "We talked before the game and I had a hunch that he would shoot the ball well tonight, and he did. It was great to see him come back and have that swagger that we have seen out of him before."
Louisiana led by as much as 27 points in the second half, hitting nearly 60 percent from the field. Devonta Walker scored all 13 of his points in the second period, including five in a 13-6 run at the midway point of the half that pushed UL's lead over 20 points for the first time.
"It was definitely a good effort by a lot of guys, and I thought we played harder than they did tonight, especially coming off a tough loss last night," Marlin said following the game.
The Cajuns were even better defensively, holding ORU to just 7-for-34 (20.6 percent) shooting in the second half and 26.8 percent for the game.
Brian Williams reached double figures for the third straight game with 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while freshman Johnathan Stove responded from a scoreless game against Milwaukee to pump in 10 points along with four assists.
In all, the Cajun reserves outscored the Golden Eagle subs 55-15 on the night.
Shepherd led the charge in the first half with 12 points, four assists and three rebounds, hitting the Cajuns' fourth three of the period at the buzzer to send UL into the locker room up 36-25. The Cajuns' bench bettered the Golden Eagles reserves 24-5 in the opening 20 minutes, using a 9-0 run to open up a double-digit lead midway through the period.
Louisiana hit 15 of its 32 shots (46.9 percent) from the field in the first half, just one night after a sluggish first half against Milwaukee that saw them hit just six of 26 tries. Seven Cajuns got into the scoring column in the period, with a pair of threes coming from Shepherd and Hayward Register and Steven Wronkoski each adding one of their own.
The Golden Eagles shot just 36.4 percent from the floor in the half and got their first 10 points from big man Dennell Henderson before he was held out of the scoring column for the rest of the period.
UL carried the momentum of a strong first half into the second period, upping the lead to 14 with 13:11 to go on Shepherd's third three of the night, and over 20 on a pair of foul shots by Walker with just under 10 minutes to play.
The lead swelled to as much as 27 at 72-45 after a 13-3 run that peaked on a three-point play from Walker and included points from four different players.
Louisiana will now observe the Thanksgiving holiday before heading home for just its second home game of the year on Dec. 3 against Jackson State. The Cajuns will leave the confines of the Cajundome following the game against JSU before opening league play on Dec. 30 at UALR.