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Louisiana basketball stays close but fails to defeat Tennessee in March Madness

Louisiana Basketball and Tennessee traded runs in the first half. The Ragin Cajuns used an 8-0 run to level the game with 4:12 on the clock in the first 20 minutes

But when UL star player Jordan Brown retired to the bench with two fouls late in the half, the Volunteers put together an 11-0 run down the final stretch of the first half and led 30-19 at halftime in the NCAA’s first round tournament .

Brown scored 12 of Louisiana’s first 19 points, No. 13, but the rest of the Cajuns (26-8) struggled early in the team’s first return to March Madness since 2014, as No. 4 Tennessee (24-10), held the 58-55 win Thursday night at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

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Louisiana basketball needed someone other than Jordan Brown to rise. They did, but too late

Despite being rightly the focus of the Vols’ scouting report, Brown opened the game hot.

But if the Cajuns were going to have a chance to create the excitement, someone else had to be consistent shots throughout the contest. None of Brown’s teammates jumped at the opportunity. Kobe Julien hit some big shots in the second half, but UT was already building an unassailable lead.

Outside of Brown, who went 7-to-12 from the field and had a team-high 16 points, the Ragin’ Cajuns went 15-to-43. Julien managed 15 points and Fulks had 10 assists but only 3 points.

Tennessee Defense as good as advertised

While Louisiana actually posted more turnover points, it was Tennessee’s defense that dictated the pace all game and kept the Ragin’ Cajuns at their lowest total of the season.

The story goes on

Juilan Phillips, Jahmi Mashack and Santiago Vescovi each had two steals and the Vols forced 15 turnovers in total.

Ragin’ Cajuns stone cold from the bow early. Then Kobe Julien showed up

There were a few early possessions where UL opted for a 3-pointer. The stroke wasn’t there for Louisiana. It missed its first nine tries before Jalen Dalcourt struck the first in the second half.

Julien came into play and emptied three 3-pointers in 3 minutes, reducing Louisiana’s deficit to 48-43 with 7:16 remaining.

UL was 6 out of 18.

Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his coverage of Tigers and Cajuns on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Have questions about LSU/UL Athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Louisiana Basketball Falls to Tennessee in NCAA Tournament