Gradnigo’s 25 points lifts Louisiana-Lafayette past New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Louisiana-Lafayette freshman Chris Gradnigo scored 25 points — 18 in the first half—to help the Ragin’ Cajuns hang on for a 72-70 Sun Belt Conference win at New Orleans on Wednesday.

Louisiana-Lafayette (13-13, 9-6) had a 16-point lead with 5:34 remaining but missed six of nine free throw attempts in the final two minutes of the game. The loss dropped New Orleans (17-10, 7-8) into third place—two games behind the first place Cajuns.

Elijah Millsap made a pair of free throws to stop New Orleans’ 13-0 run and end a Cajuns’ scoreless streak that spanned 3:20. The free throws gave the Cajuns a five-point lead with 2:14 remaining.

Two minutes later, Millsap’s offensive rebound put him at the line, where he would make both shots, giving the Cajuns a 72-68 edge with 13.8 seconds remaining. New Orleans’ Bo McCalebb scored five seconds later to make it a two-point game with 7.8 seconds left.

After the Cajuns came up empty on two free throws, New Orleans’ Kechan Myers drove the lane but his game-tying layup bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Millsap finished the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

McCalebb paced New Orleans to finish with 18 points—all in the second half and five below his season average—and a team-high seven rebounds. Kyndall Dykes added 14 points for the Privateers.

The Cajuns, who never trailed, held New Orleans to 22 percent shooting in the first half and led 41-25 at halftime. The Privateers started the game 2-for-24 from the field.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 LA Lafayette
Chris Gradnigo Chris Gradnigo
9-14,  25 Pts
5 Rebs, 0 Assists
 New Orleans
Bo McCalebb Bo McCalebb
7-20,  18 Pts
7 Rebs, 0 Assists

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Wednesday, Feb 20