Arkansas State’s big runs too much for UL-Lafayette

JONESBORO, Ark. — Arkansas State’s men’s basketball team used scoring runs at the start of both halves to create separation from Louisiana-Lafayette, and the result was an 87-70 Red Wolves victory on Thursday night at the Convocation Center as Sun Belt Conference action resumed.

ASU (7-5, 1-2 Sun Belt) rolled off a 13-0 run to seize the momentum in the opening minutes of the contest. After ULL (5-9, 1-2) pulled within three points late in the first half (31-28), a 7-2 run to close out the half combined with an 8-0 run to start the second half opened a 46-30 lead.

The Red Wolves led by double digits the rest of the night — by as many as 26 points with 10:40 remaining — in posting their fourth straight win over the Ragin’ Cajuns on their home floor.

The loss prevented ULL from posting back-to-back wins for the first time this season. The Red Wolves broke a two-game losing streak.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are set to return home on Friday to begin preparing for a Saturday contest against Arkansas-Little Rock at the Cajundome. Tipoff with the Trojans (8-6, 2-1) in slated for 7:05 p.m.

ASU shot 46 percent in both halves and got a game-high 31 points from Ed Townsel.

ULL shot in the low 30s and finished at 38 percent in the first half. The Cajuns shot 9-for-16 in the final 7:41 as they were able to lower the ASU lead to 11 points on two different occasions.

Elfrid Payton led four Cajuns in double figures with 20 points. He was joined by Alan-Michael Thompson (13 points), Shawn Long (10) and Josh Soto (10).

The Cajuns grabbed the first lead of the game on a Payton layup at 18:35 off a Moore steal, but a 13-0 run by the Red Wolves had ULL playing catch up the rest of the opening half.