New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Elfrid Payton scored 23 points to go with nine assists and seven rebounds as Louisiana edged Western Kentucky 73-72 in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Bryant Mbamalu also scored 23 points for the Ragin' Cajuns (22-11), who will face top-seeded Georgia State in the Sun Belt final on Sunday.
George Fant and T.J. Price finished with 16 points apiece and Brandon Harris scored 11 for the Hilltoppers (20-12).
Louisiana led 67-59 with just under 4 1/2 minutes left, but a 13-2 run had WKU on top 72-69 with just over two minutes remaining.
Payton buried a jumper at the 1:49 mark and made the go-ahead layup 33 seconds later. The Hilltoppers were held scoreless the rest of the way.
The Ragin' Cajuns led 42-37 at the break.