LOUISIANA La. It takes a certain tenacity to play defense in basketball, knowing that defense will trigger offense.

Most players love to score after all, it's the soaring dunks and 3-point bombs that make the evening highlight shows but not everyone wants to put in the effort on the other end of the floor.

"You create that mindset in practice," Louisiana coach Jessie Evans said on Monday. "In order to win, you've got to play defense. That happened last Saturday night, and I think today they'll appreciate it more."

The Ragin' Cajuns fought back from a 9-point deficit to defeat Denver 83-81 in Saturday's Sun Belt Conference opener on the road, and they couldn't have done it without increased defensive intensity.

"When we have 'defensive game' in practice, say we play to 30, one team has the ball first and we flip it at 15," Evans said. "So that team knows that in order to win, they've got to win it from the defensive end.

"They want to have the ball first, so they can prove to the coaches and to themselves that they can play defense."

Evans has even switched the procedure for fans at home games in the Cajundome. Normally fans stand and cheer until the home team scores, but Evans asks UL backers to stay on their feet until his team surrenders a point.

The plan there is for those fans to be upright for a considerable amount of time.

"You have to be tough-minded as a team," Evans said. "And, with the senior leadership we have (Brad Boyd, Laurie Bridges, Antoine Landry) and the injection of Dwayne Mitchell, we're pretty tough-minded on defense."

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Bruce Brown
bbrown@theadvertiser.com