ULM (4-5) at Texas-Arlington (5-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: College Park Center (7,000) -- Arlington, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: ULM 3-1, UTA 4-3. Away Record: ULM 1-4, UTA 1-6. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, UTA 0-0. Conference Record: ULM 1-0, UTA 0-2. Series Record: ULM leads, 46-12.
GAME NOTES: The Texas-Arlington Mavericks will wrap up a four-game homestand at College Park Center on Thursday afternoon, as they take on the ULM Warhawks in a Sun Belt Conference showdown.
ULM opened up league play on Saturday afternoon, and after battling with Louisiana for two overtimes it came away with a 103-98 victory. The win snapped the Warhawks' four-game losing streak and allowed them to climb to 4-5 overall.
UTA has also struggled this season, sporting just a 5-9 record, which includes a modest 4-3 mark on its home floor. The Mavericks have opened up Sun Belt play with two straight losses, falling to Arkansas on Jan. 2 (82-66) and most recently dropping a 72-70 decision to Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday.
In regards to the all-time series, the Warhawks have a comfortable 46-12 advantage over the Mavericks. These newly-minted conference rivals haven't played since 2006, when ULM captured a 80-66 win in Monroe.
After surrendering leads in the final seconds of both regulation and first overtime, ULM used an 8-0 run in the second extra session to finally put its latest game away for good. It shot a solid 46.8 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle, 54-44, and while its free-throw percentage was less than ideal (.558), it benefited from a lofty 46 attempts. Tylor Ongwae set career highs with 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Jayon James also tallied a double-double with 16 points and 12 boards. Marvin Williams and Amos Olatayo scored 16 points apiece as well, and RJ McCray came off the bench to pour in 11.
The Warhawks haven't been so lucky offensively over the course of the season, as they shoot just 42.7 percent form the field for 69.8 ppg, which is 3.7 ppg fewer than they allow. Their 16.7 turnovers per contest is another big reason for their futility. Olatayo (14.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Ongwae (14.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg) are the leading scorers, while James brings 10.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 3.8 apg to the table.
The Mavericks found themselves down by 10 to UALR last weekend with just over three minutes to play before they fought all the way back to tie the game with 31 second left on a pair of Brandon Edwards free throws, but their comeback attempt was spoiled at the buzzer when they fell victim a UALR game-winning jumper. They shot a modest 41.8 percent from the field and were ultimately held back by losing the turnover battle, 18-13. Lonnie McClanahan netted 17 points off the bench, Edwards posted 14 points and nine rebounds and Reger Dowell and Shaq White-Miller finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Unlike ULM, UTA has very little problem scoring (79.9 ppg), but its downfall comes on the other end of the floor, where it gives up 80.0 ppg. Dowell ranks 10th in the nation in scoring, putting up 22.0 ppg, while attempting nearly 10 3-pointers per contest (53-of-138). Edwards (17.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg) is a nightly double-double threat and shoots 53 percent from the field, while McClanahan rounds out the double-digit scorers with 12.0 ppg.
UTA is trending in the wrong direction and has shown at the start of league play that its home floor isn't exactly a safe haven. As long as the Mavericks' defense keeps letting them down, they'll be hard to trust against any competent opposition.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: ULM 78, Texas-Arlington 76
01/09 10:31:45 ET