Arkansas State (11-7) at ULM (6-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 30, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fant-Ewing Coliseum (7,000) -- Monroe, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: ASU 6-2, ULM 5-2. Away Record: ASU 5-5, ULM 4-7. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, ULM 1-1. Conference Record: ASU 5-3, ULM 3-4. Series Record: ULM leads, 32-21.
GAME NOTES: The ULM Warhawks will close out a three-game homestand on Thursday night, as the Arkansas State Red Wolves come to Fant-Ewing Coliseum for a Sun Belt Conference bout.
Arkansas State earned an impressive 77-49 win over Arkansas-Little Rock last time out. The victory ended a two-game slide for the Red Wolves, who are 11-7 overall and 5-3 in conference action. They will take a trip to battle Troy in their next game, that being this Saturday.
ULM has suffered losses against Western Kentucky (69-51) and Georgia State (66-58) in the first two legs of this homestand. The Warhawks are decidedly worse in terms of overall record (6-9) in comparison to the Red Wolves, but they have been competitive in league play (3-4). A rivalry clash with Louisiana is next on the schedule.
Recently Arkansas State has dominated the proceedings with ULM, posting wins in seven straight and 11 of the last 12 meetings. Even with that extended stretch of success, the Red Wolves still trail in the all-time series, 32-21.
Despite shooting just 39 percent from the floor against UALR, Arkansas State was able to rout the Trojans by limiting them to 24.1 percent shooting, while outscoring them in the paint (30-22) and off of turnovers (17-11). Melvin Johnson scored 21 points to lead the way, and Kendrick Washington tallied a double-double consisting of 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Arkansas State is a decent offensive group, ranking third in the Sun Belt in both scoring (77.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (.454). Kirk Van Slyke (17.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is the top offensive performer for the Red Wolves, sinking 55.4 percent of his shots from the floor. Van Slyke tallied 15 points and eight rebounds in the win over UALR, and has scored in double figures in all but one game this season. Johnson III (13.9 ppg) and Brandon Reed (10.8 ppg) provide support, while Washington (9.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is another force on the interior.
Despite a game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds from Tylor Ongwae, ULM did not have enough to get past Georgia State. The Warhawks turned the ball over 15 times, while forcing only six miscues from the Panthers. The mistakes hurt an otherwise strong effort from ULM, which held Georgia State to 38.6 percent shooting.
ULM is not as potent an offensive unit as Arkansas State, netting only 66.1 ppg and shooting 42.9 percent from the floor. Ongwae (16.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is a talented scorer, who is sinking just under 45 percent of his shots from the floor this season. He has scored in double figures in every game, aside from a four-point effort against Kansas in the season opener. Amos Olatayo (13.2 ppg) is second on the team in scoring, but he missed the bout with Georgia State due to a sprained right knee, an injury for which he is listed as questionable for this contest. Jayon James (10 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 4.2 apg) is a solid all-around performer, who will likely get additional touches should Olatayo miss time again.
Even if Olatayo is able to play on Thursday, he will likely not be at 100 percent. Without one of their best scorers in top form, the already offensive- deficient Warhawks won't have enough firepower to keep up with the Red Wolves.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 74, ULM 65
01/30 10:36:33 ET