Lafayette, LA (Sports Network) - James Gallman scored 14 points to pace the Blue Raiders as Middle Tennessee defeated the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, 72-58, in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both sides at the Cajundome.
Marcos Knight added 12 points and seven rebounds for Middle Tennessee (5-1, 1-0 Sun Belt), which picked up its third win in a row. Jason Jones and Tweety Knight both came off the bench and went 5-of-5 from the floor to score 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Shawn Long registered a double-double for Louisiana (2-5, 0-1) with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Steven Wronkoski went 3-of-4 from the field to net 13 points while Bryant Mbamalu and Elfrid Payton tallied 11 points each. Payton also dished out six assists and swiped four steals for the Ragin' Cajuns, who have now lost three games in a row and six out of their last seven.
The Blue Raiders' reserves outscored Louisiana's bench 17-3 in the opening half to help the visitors build a 38-32 lead heading into the intermission. Louisiana trailed at halftime despite shooting 46.4 percent from the field before the break.
The Ragin' Cajuns managed to take a 48-47 lead with 11:20 left to play, but Bruce Massey knocked down a jumper and Raymond Cintron connected on a three- pointer to put Middle Tennessee back up by four points. The Blue Raiders closed out the game on a 25-10 run to deal Louisiana a double-digit setback. The Ragin' Cajuns were unable to come back after they shot just 34.6 percent from the floor in the second half.
Middle Tennessee held a 40-31 advantage in the rebounding battle.