Eaton, Gillard lead Arkansas St. past Louisiana-Lafayette

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Marquis Eaton had 24 points and Grantham Gillard scored 20, including four 3-pointers, to help Arkansas State beat Louisiana-Lafayette 94-83 Thursday night in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams.

Ty Cockfield added 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals and Salif Boudie had 12 points and 11 boards for Arkansas State.

The Red Wolves (7-7) missed seven of their first nine shots and trailed for most of the first half but took the lead for good when Gillard and Eaton hit back-to-back 3s to make it 43-37 at the break. Gillard and Eaton each hit another 3-pointer before Gillard’s layup capped an 8-0 run to open the second half and two free throws by Gillard made it 73-57 with 10 minutes to go. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored the next nine points before Justin Miller and Marcus Stroman made back-to-back layups to trim their deficit to 85-81 with 2½ minutes to go. Eaton answered with a jumper and ULL got no closer.

Stroman led the Ragin’ Cajuns (9-5) with 25 points. Miller and JaKeenan Gant added 19 points apiece.