Troy (9-18) at ULM (9-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fant-Ewing Coliseum (7,085) -- Monroe, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Troy 7-5, ULM 6-5. Away Record: Troy 2-11, ULM 3-9. Neutral Record: Troy 0-2, ULM 0-0. Conference Record: Troy 4-11, ULM 6-9. Series Record: Troy leads, 8-3.
GAME NOTES: The ULM Warhawks will play their final home game of the season on Saturday night, as they welcome the Troy Trojans to Fant-Ewing Coliseum for a Sun Belt Conference clash.
Troy's season has been a struggle from the very start, as it has gone just 9-18 overall and 4-11 in league play, and it has been especially bad of late with three straight losses. The Trojans hosted Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday and were saddled with a disappointing 62-55 setback.
ULM also occupies the lower half of the Sun Belt standings with a 6-9 conference ledger, but it is fresh off a 71-54 victory over South Alabama on Thursday to improve to 9-14 overall. The Warhawks have been solid in Monroe this season with a 6-5 home record.
The squads met earlier this season in Troy, with the Warhawks coming away with a 75-64 triumph on Jan. 16, although the Trojans still lead the all-time series, 8-3.
The Trojans never led in their most recent bout, as they shot only 38.5 percent from the field en route to the seven-point home loss. The squad pulled off the rare feat of having more turnovers (20) than field goals (17), and it also failed to impress at the free-throw line, shooting just 15-of-25. Tevin Calhoun was solid despite the defeat with 16 points before fouling out. Hunter Williams and Jeff Mullahey netted 12 points apiece, while Antoine Myers added nine points and seven rebounds.
On the season, Troy has not been very impressive offensively, shooting just 42 percent from the field for 68.2 ppg, which has not been enough to support its scoring defense (70.9 ppg). Its turnover problem (-1.5 margin) has also been prevalent throughout the campaign. Williams scores a team-best 13.0 ppg but oftentimes hurts more than he helps with a lackluster field goal percentage (.350). Myers (11.8 ppg), Calhoun (10.0 ppg), Kevin Thomas (9.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Mullahey (9.4 ppg) have also been solid.
After taking a slim two-point lead at intermission earlier in the week, the Warhawks dominated the second half of action and cruised to the 17-point victory, as they outshot South Alabama from the field, 58.3 percent to 37.7 percent, while also winning the rebounding battle, 35-27. All five starters scored in double figures, paced by Jayon James' 19 points. Chinedu Amajoyi (12 points) and Tylor Ongwae (10 points) combined to grab 17 rebounds, while Nick Coppola tallied 11 points and six assists and Marvin Williams netted 10.
Unfortunately for ULM, well-rounded efforts like it posted on Thursday have come few and far between this season, as it shoots 43.2 percent from the field for just 65.3 ppg while allowing 69.3 ppg on 43.5 percent shooting, and it lives in the red both in terms of its rebounding (-0.8) and turnover (-1.8) margins. Ongwae has been a stellar top scoring threat with 16.6 ppg, while adding 5.9 rpg for good measure. James stuffs the stat sheet on a regular basis, putting up 10.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 4.4 apg and 1.2 spg, all while shooting 49.4 percent from the field.
In a showdown between two inconsistent teams, the advantage has to go to ULM on its home floor, especially after registering a promising win earlier in the week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: ULM 71, Troy 66
03/01 11:26:37 ET