Bartley helps Louisiana claim Sun Belt title 81-76 at Troy (Feb 22, 2018)

February 22, 2018

TROY, Ala. (AP) Frank Bartley scored 22 points, Marcus Stroman made four free throws in the last 28 seconds and Louisiana held off Troy 81-76 Thursday night to claim its first Sun Belt Conference championship in 18 years.

The Ragin Cajuns (24-4, 14-1) pulled down 46 rebounds, including 35 off the defensive glass, while Troy grabbed 30 rebounds all told and the disparity helped Louisiana survive Troy's 53-percent shooting from long range. The Trojans made 13 of 28 from distance but were outscored 40-20 in the paint, 17-6 on second-chance points and 11-6 on the fast break.

The Trojans (13-15, 7-8) came within two points three times in the last 95 seconds. Jordan Varnado scored on a drive to pull Troy as close as 72-70 with 1:35 remaining, but he missed a free throw that would have turned the bucket into a three-point play. Wesley Person scored two from the line to pull Troy to 74-72 but Bryce Washington answered with a drive and, after another Varnado bucket made it 76-74 with 36 seconds left, Strohman closed things out from the foul line.

Louisiana last won the Sun Belt in the 1999-00 season. The victory was also coach Bob Marlin's 500th.

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