Little Rock tops Louisiana Lafayette 72-65 in Sun Belt semis

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Jalen Jackson led a balanced attack with 16 points and top-seeded Little Rock held off fourth-seeded Louisiana Lafayette 72-65 on Saturday to advance to the championship game of the Sun Belt Tournament.

Josh Hagins added 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Trojans (28-4), who face the Louisiana Monroe-Texas Arlington winner in Sunday's championship. Lis Shoshi and Marcus Johnson Jr. added 13 points apiece.

Jackson hit 6 of 7 shots and scored 13 points as Little Rock opened a 33-23 lead at the break.

The Ragin' Cajuns (17-14) quickly battled back, tying the game at 38 on a layup by Shawn Long, who followed up his 34-point game in the quarterfinals with 25 points. Kasey Shepherd had all 18 of his points, with five 3s, in the second half.

Little Rock, which has 15 more wins than last season, surged ahead again and the Ragin' Cajuns couldn't come up with the key play after closing within three with 2:25 left.

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