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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fant-Ewing Coliseum (7,085) -- Monroe, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: UALR 6-4, ULM 5-4. Away Record: UALR 5-8, ULM 3-7. Neutral Record: UALR 1-1, ULM 0-0. Conference Record: UALR 7-6, ULM 4-7. Series Record: Arkansas-Little Rock leads, 14-8.
GAME NOTES: Two teams suffering through losing streaks will try to get back in the win column, as the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans tangle with the ULM Warhawks in a Sun Belt Conference feud at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
UALR's 93-87 double-overtime loss to Louisiana on Thursday was its third straight. The recent slide has dropped the Trojans below the .500 mark overall (12-13), and to a middling 7-6 mark in conference play. They will host Texas- Arlington next.
ULM faced that same Mavericks team on Thursday and dropped an 85-74 decision. The Warhawks have also lost three straight and five of their last six overall. Their success rate both on the season (7-12) and in conference (4-7) is far below UALR's. A visit to league-leading Georgia State is next on the docket.
This is the first meeting of the season between these two squads, which will wrap up their campaigns against each other on March 8. UALR has won six straight against ULM, sweeping the season series in each of the last three years. The Trojans lead the all-time series, 14-8.
The Trojans managed to pull themselves out of a number of deficits against Louisiana, including one as big as 12 points at halftime. However, they were the victim of a 10-2 run to start the second extra session, and there simply wasn't enough time to recover.
UALR was shorthanded against the Ragin' Cajuns, leading scorer Will Neighbour (16.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg) as well as Leroy Isler (6.7 ppg) were sidelined due to injury. Neighbour has been as solid as they come for the Trojans, topping the team in rebounds as well as shooting 50.2 percent from the floor, so a continued absence from him could be devastating. Indications are that he will return for this contest. If he does not, the scoring responsibility will shift to Josh Hagins (12.3 ppg) and James White (11.4 ppg). Hagins was the better of the two on Thursday, pouring in 24 points, although doing so on just 8-of-24 shooting.
The Warhawks were dominated on the interior in their loss to Texas-Arlington, being outscored, 40-28, in the paint, while on the short end of a 40-29 margin on the boards. Tylor Ongwae dropped in a game-high 24 points for ULM in the losing effort.
The Warhawks are one of the weaker offensive teams in the Sun Belt, netting a meager 65.5 ppg and shooting just 43 percent from the floor, ranking ninth and seventh in the league, respectively, in each category. Ongwae (16.5 ppg) paces the squad, especially with Amos Olatayo (13.2 ppg) lost to knee surgery. Ongwae has scored in double figures in 10 straight games and has failed to do so only twice this year. Jayon James (10.1 ppg, 6 rpg) is the best choice to replace Olatayo as the second option. He has scored 18 and 15 points, respectively, in the last two games, but he has also been held scoreless twice in the last seven.
If UALR hopes to get back in the Sun Belt title chase, it needs to top the inferior teams in the league, like ULM. Assuming Neighbour is able to go, the Trojans should be able to do just that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas-Little Rock 74, ULM 68
02/15 10:47:27 ET
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