Louisiana returns from Christmas break and visits Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville for a meeting with the 16th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers.

GAME CENTER
Date:
Monday, Dec. 29, 2008
Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
Opponent: #16 Tennessee (8-2)
Site: Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678)
Game Time: 6:30 p.m. (CST)
Television: None
Radio: SportsRadio ESPN 1420 AM (KPEL), 107.9 FM (KRKA)

Game Night Story Lines
This is the first of back-to-back games against SEC foes. On Tuesday, Dec. 30, the Cajuns fly to Baton Rouge to prepare for a New Year’s Eve showdown at LSU.
● Monday will mark the fourth consecutive season the two teams have met and the ninth meeting overall with the Volunteers winning the last four. UL appears at Thompson-Boling Arena for the second straight season – UT won 98-70 in last season’s meeting on Nov. 30, 2007.
● The injury bug continued to plague the Cajuns in their last outing. Leading scorer Travis Bureau (16.8 ppg) missed the Sam Houston State game with a groin injury. Louisiana lost by two points.
● Point guard Ryan McCoy has been playing his best basketball of the season as of late. He has scored double figures in the past three games and notched a career-high 21 points vs. Sam Houston State. During the three-game stretch he is averaging 15 points and shooting 51.6 percent (16-of-31).
Louisiana enters Monday’s game on a two-game losing streak. The Ragin’ Cajuns had won four of five games to pull to .500 after a 0-3 start.
● The magic point total for the Cajuns has been 70. Score above 70 and the team is 4-0. When failing to reach 70, Louisiana is 0-6.


RECENT HOMESTAND NOTABLES

Louisiana went 2-2 on the homestand with victories over Louisiana College (85-58) and ULM (86-58). North Texas snapped the Cajuns’ four-game win streak in the ‘DOME and handed UL its first loss on the homestand, 78-64. Sam Houston then clipped the Cajuns with a last-second game winner in the homestand finale.

● The Cajuns shot 110-of-222 (49.5%), outrebounded opponents by an average of 38-32 and averaged 72.2 points. The Cajuns defense limited opponents to 37 percent shooting (85-of-230) and blocked 32 shots (8.0 blocks per game).

● Three players averaged double figures scoring on the homestand: Travis Bureau (15.7), Chris Gradnigo (10.8) and Ryan McCoy (13.3).

Ryan McCoy played his best basketball. In the four games, he averaged 13.3 points, shot 51.3 percent, averaged 4.0 assists and shot 6-of-11 from three-point range.

North Texas led from start to finish. In the other two games (LC & ULM), the Ragin’ Cajuns took the lead during the first three minutes of the first half and never trailed again.

 ● Against SHSU, Louisiana built a nine-point halftime lead and didn’t trail until the 3:55 mark of the second half. UL was hampered by not making a second-half field goal until 9:48 remained in the contest.

● Scoring runs decided the first three games. Against Louisiana College, an 11-0 UL run broke open an 8-6 lead into double figures. In the ULM game, Louisiana broke a 5-all tie with a 15-3 run. And, North Texas jolted on an 11-2 run to break open a 9-6 contest.

 

GETTING TO KNOW THE SEC

● This is the second of three games in December against SEC competition. Louisiana visited Alabama on Sunday, Dec. 7 (L, 44-61) and plays a third SEC foe on New Year’s Eve when they meet LSU at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Louisiana has lost eight straight games to an SEC opponent. The Cajuns’ last win against an SEC foe came in the 2002-03 season opener when Louisiana upset No. 12 Mississippi State 79-76 in Starkville, Miss., on Nov. 23, 2002.

● Since the 1998-99 season, Louisiana is 2-13 vs. the SEC with both victories coming against Mississippi State.

 

THEY SHOULD KNOW US BY NOW

● The Ragin’ Cajuns should be familiar to the Volunteer faithful. Louisiana appears at Thompson-Boling Arena for the third time in the past four seasons.

● In the previous meetings at Thompson-Boling, the Vols won 83-76 in 2005-06 and 98-70 last season.

 

THE MILES WILL BEGIN TO PILE UP

● The Ragin’ Cajuns enjoyed the comforts of home through Christmas. UL left the State of Louisiana only twice and played eight of 10 games in the CAJUNDOME.

● Post-Christmas sees the Ragin’ Cajuns finishing the 2008-09 regular season playing 12 of the final 19 games on the road.

● Monday’s game at Tennessee begins a stretch in which UL plays eight of the next 11 games away from the CAJUNDOME through the end of January.

 


SAM HOUSTON STATE LEFTOVERS

● The Bearkats snapped the Cajuns’ five-game win streak in the series and evened the all-time series mark at 7-all. It was the first meeting since Dec. 15, 1993.

Tyren Johnson recorded a double-double (11 pts, 11 rebs). It was his second double-double of the season and a career-high in rebounds.

Ryan McCoy scored 21 points. It was the third time a UL player reached 20-plus this season (Tyren Johnson scored 21 vs. Oral Roberts/Travis Bureau had 24 vs. Lamar).

McCoy shot well, going 8-of-10 overall and 4-of-6 from three-point range.

Louisiana’s bench, which entered the game averaging 26.2 points in the previous five games, only mustered four points. Lamar Roberson was held scoreless.

UL was unable to extend a nine-point halftime lead because the squad did not make a field goal until 9:48 remained in the game.

 


LAST TIME VS. TENNESSEE (Nov. 30, 2007 in Knoxville – UT won 98-70)

● Despite holding Tennessee’s leading scorer Chris Lofton to seven points, four other Volunteers reached double figures, including Jordon Howell (17), JaJuan Smith (15), Ramar Smith (14) and Duke Crews (10).

Tennessee’s lead reached 17 as the Volunteers took a 36-19 advantage at the 8:03 mark of the first half. UL responded with an 8-2 run to cut the Volunteers’ edge to 38-27.

Louisiana opened the second half with a David Dees triple from the top of the key to cut Tennessee’s advantage to 46-30. The Vols then went on an 8-0 run thanks to a couple of transition baskets to take a 24-point lead, 54-30.

 

SERIES HISTORY (Tennessee leads 7-1 overall; 4-0 in Knoxville; 2-0 in Thompson-Boling Arena)

Perhaps the most memorable meeting in the series came in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. The 13th-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns nearly upset the fourth-seeded Volunteers. However, Tennessee went 23-of-29 (.793) at the free throw line to seal a 63-58 win.

● Three of the eight meetings in the series have come in the postseason. Tennessee

defeated Louisiana in the 1982 NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis and later in the second round of the 1985 NIT in Knoxville.

Louisiana’s lone win in the series came on Dec. 27, 1985, when the Ragin’ Cajuns needed two overtimes to defeat the Volunteers 79-78 at the Sugar Bowl Tournament in New Orleans

This is the 5th meeting in Knoxville and 3rd in Thompson-Boling Arena.

 

UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA

The Ragin' Cajuns fly out of Knoxville on Tuesday morning at approximately 7 a.m, and arrive in Baton Rouge around 11 a.m. Louisiana will then prepare for its New Year's Eve battle with LSU at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

 

The Cajuns and Tigers will tipoff at 1:30 p.m., in a game which will be aired live by CST (cable channel 37 in Lafayette). It will be UL's final game of the 2008 calendar year.