Cajuns’ early efforts encourage Marlin

LAFAYETTE — Bob Marlin has few complaints about the performance of his UL-Lafayette men’s basketball team, especially since the Cajuns have played six of the past seven games on the road.

The Cajuns are 6-3, and even after Saturday’s road loss to No. 17 Louisville, Marlin said he’s content with his team’s effort.

“I’m very pleased, no doubt, to be where we are right now, considering the kind of schedule we have played,” Marlin said during Monday’s weekly news luncheon.

UL-Lafayette is off most of the week because of final exams, but the Cajuns return Saturday to meet the University of Houston at 7:05 p.m. at the Cajundome.

Since Nov. 15, the Cajuns have played at Arkansas, at Baylor, at the Maui Inland Invitational in Conway, S.C., home against Northwestern State, at Louisiana Tech and at Louisville.

UL-Lafayette won the Maui tournament at Coastal Carolina and ended Louisiana Tech’s 19-game home court winning streak Wednesday night.

Then came the 113-74 defeat at Louisville against a team that Marlin said is the best he’s faced during his four seasons at UL-Lafayette.

Marlin said the Cajuns needed to play at Arkansas and Baylor, a pair of schools who recruit efficiently in Louisiana.

“We’ve played three major schools at their place and then Tech on the road. That’s been especially good for us in terms of our (rating percentage index). Two of those teams (Baylor and Louisville) are in the Top 25,” Marlin said.

UL-Lafayette trailed Louisville 54-47 at halftime, but the Cajuns were outscored 59-27 in the second half.

Marlin said as the game progressed, the Cajuns were overwhelmed by Louisville‘s effort.

“They come in waves at you, as I mentioned last week. And when (the Cardinals) do, it’s a pretty big wave. They just keep coming, and it’s a monster. They get those offensive rebounds and put them back in and then (the Cardinals) set their press, and it’s just more physical than we are used to seeing.

“That’s a good experience for our kids to play the defending national champion and three major teams from three different leagues,” Marlin said.

Marlin said that Cajuns’ forward Shawn Long has developed a toe injury, something that affected his rebounding and shot blocking against Louisville.

In 29 minutes Long had five rebounds and didn’t block a shot. Long has been averaging 10.9 rebounds and 2.8 shot blocks.

Long still scored 25 points before fouling out at Louisville, but Marlin said Long’s ineffectiveness in other areas was noticeable because of the injury.

UL-Lafayette women

Coach Gary Brodhead and the UL-Lafayette women (4-4) travel to UNO (0-7) at 8 p.m. Saturday in Lakefront Arena.

The Cajuns women’s team lost two straight last week at Mississippi State (78-51) and Tech (51-44).

MSU led the Cajuns 28-27 at halftime but scored 50 points after that. UL-Lafayette scored only 15 in the first half at Tech. Later, the Cajuns were outscored 13-4 in the opening moments of the second half.

Brodhead’s starting lineup for UNO comprises four sophomores and a freshman.

Although it is his second season as the UL-Lafayette women’s coach, Brodhead said he feels his rebuilding effort should be farther along at this point.

The Cajuns are 14-25 under Brodhead, and that’s not altogether satisfactory, he said.

“It’s not good enough. I feel that we are behind and that we should be better at this point. I know the kids that are here want to be here, and they are working harder than last year.

“We are making progress, but I feel that we’ve got to get a little more talent, especially sizewise. … I feel that we’re not good enough at this points, and we should be better,” Brodhead said.

Retiring the jersey

Marlin said former UL-Lafayette forward Jerry Flake, who played with the Cajuns during the 1960s, will have his No. 20 jersey retired at halftime Saturday.

Flake played under the late Beryl Shipley and averaged 19.2 points during his college career.

Also honored Saturday will be current Cajuns point guard Elfrid Payton, who was a member of the USA Basketball team that went undefeated in international competition this summer.