WACO (AP) — Shawn Long got called for a foul only 34 seconds into the game for Louisiana-Lafayette. That was a bad sign of things to come for the Ragin’ Cajuns against No. 23 Baylor.
Long had three fouls in less than 7 minutes, when he had only one field goal, while Lafayette jumped out to an early lead before losing 87-68 at the Bears on Sunday in an opening-round game of the Maui Invitational far from the Hawaiian Islands.
“In the first half, I got in early foul trouble, and I felt like a few of those calls were a little suspect. But you’ve got to play through that,” Long said. “I feel like if I would have stayed out of foul trouble that first half, I would have hurt them the whole game. Once I got position, I didn’t think they could guard me.”
Long did finish with 16 points and eight rebounds, but the Cajuns (2-2) lost for the second time in three games.
Kenny Chery, the new point guard for the Bears (3-0) scored 20 points with four assists and no turnovers in 32 minutes. His 3-pointer capped an early 15-5 run that put the Bears ahead to stay after their sluggish start. Also in the spurt, he also had a jumper and an assist on the first of several impressive slam dunks by Cory Jefferson.
“Kenny played a tremendous game,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Since Day 1 he’s been very diligent and coachable. He doesn’t try to do too much and has been a great teammate.”
Elfrid Payton had 20 points for the Cajuns (2-2). He and Long came in averaging more than 21 a game.
In another Maui opening-round game Friday night, the Ragin’ Cajuns led 60-59 with nearly 6 minutes left at Arkansas before losing 76-63. Louisiana will finish its portion of the tournament next weekend even further away from Maui, with a pair of games in Conway, S.C.
“We had a travel day yesterday, had a tough ballgame on Friday night against Arkansas, played well, and were actually in control of the game for 35, 36 minutes and let it go at the end,” Cajuns coach Bob Marlin said. “I thought Chery played a really good game. I don’t know if he can play better. And, of course, Brady played good.”
Chery took over as Baylor’s starting point guard this year after the departure of Pierre Jackson, who was also a junior college transfer before being the Big 12 leader in scoring and assists and leading the Bears to an NCAA regional final and an NIT championship the past two seasons.
Heslip added 19 points in his 22 minutes while Jefferson finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Austin had eight points on just 3-of-9 shooting, but had six rebounds and eight blocked shots.
Baylor plays at home again Wednesday night, against Charleston Southern, before traveling 3,700 miles to Maui for three games in Hawaii the three days leading into Thanksgiving.
The Cajuns had an early 9-3 lead after 3-pointers by Kevin Brown, Xavian Rimmer and Steven Wronkowski.
Rico Gathers had two free throws about midway through the first half to give Baylor a 13-11 lead before Chery’s run-ending 3 from the corner.
J.J. Davenport, the Cajuns’ 6-foot-6 325-pound center, fouled out with 13½ minutes left when he got a personal foul and then a technical in the aftermath of the call.
Lafayette had an 8-2 run in the first 2 minutes of the second half. Brown swished a 3-pointer from the right wing while Long had a layup and a pair of free throws in that spurt that made it 35-30.
Lafayette never got closer. A minute later, Royce O’Neale had a pass to Isaiah Austin for a dunk before Chery then had a steal and a breakaway layup.
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