ULM (1-6) at UAB (5-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 20, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bartow Arena (8,500) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: ULM 1-2, UAB 4-0. Away Record: ULM 0-4, UAB 1-4. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, UAB 0-2. Conference Record: ULM 0-2, UAB 0-0. Series Record: UAB leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The ULM Warhawks will try to turn things around when they visit Bartow Arena for a non-conference duel with the UAB Blazers.
Keith Richard's Warhawks lost their second game in a row on Monday as they were defeated 63-48 by Florida State. The setback dropped ULM to 1-6 on the season with its only victory coming over Southeast Louisiana in an overtime thriller at home. Although the team has faced some tough opponents such as Oklahoma, Western Kentucky, and Arkansas-Little Rock, all of its losses have come by double-digit margins. The Warhawks are averaging only 52.9 points per game on 36.7 percent field goal shooting. They have allowed 70.4 ppg and average 8.3 less rebounds per contest than their opponents as well.
UAB is coming off of an 88-79 loss at Rutgers on Sunday that dropped its record below .500 at 5-6. First-year head coach Jerod Haase has yet to lose at home in four outings although his squad has not faced a tough opponent at Bartow Arena. The Blazers have had a difficult schedule so far as they lost to nationally ranked opponents Creighton and North Carolina. UAB tends to play at a faster pace than most, as the team is netting 77.7 points and 17.6 assists per contest. However, it has only held one Division I opponent under 70 points and is allowing an average of 75.4 points.
This will be just the second encounter between these schools on the hardwood. UAB won the first meeting that took place in 1994.
ULM made 19 field goals its last time out, which was the exact same amount the Seminoles made in the contest. However, Florida State outscored the Warhawks 20-3 at the free throw line and held a 37-17 edge in the rebounding battle. Sophomore guard Trent Mackey provided a spark on the offensive end with 22 points thanks to a 6-of-12 clip from beyond the arc, but none of his teammates joined him in double-figures. Junior forward Jayon James pulled down a game- high 12 boards, but he went just 2-of-6 from the field and committed eight turnovers. Leading scorer Amos Olatayo did not play against FSU and will be unavailable for this one. His absence leaves Mackey as the only double-digit scorer with 11 ppg. James (9.3 ppg) is the team's top rebounder with 7.9 per contest.
The Blazers' lack of defensive stopping power was evident in their loss at Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights converted a staggering 73.9 percent of their attempts from the floor and added 13 more points at the free-throw line through the first 20 minutes of action. UAB played better after the break and outscored Rutgers by eight points in the second half, but it was not enough. Although they allowed their opponent to make a high percentage of their attempts, the Blazers did manage to force 22 turnovers which they turned into 24 points. Junior forward Jordan Swing led the team with 23 points and six boards. Preston Purifoy came off the pine to net 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Swing is pacing the team with 15.8 ppg and Rod Rucker has been impressive as well with 12.7 points and 7.1 boards per contest. Fahro Alihodzic (10.5 ppg), Robert Williams (9.6 ppg), and Terence Jones (8.5 ppg, 4.2 apg) round out Haase's starting five.
Rucker is undersized for a power forward, but his bruising style of play will be at its finest against ULM, which does not have a player taller than 6-7 listed on its roster. The Blazers will be able to get any shot they want on the offensive end and the Warhawks lack the offensive firepower to keep up without Olatayo in the lineup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 83, ULM 64
12/20 10:37:20 ET